Juvenile Justice Services

Commitment to Youth

From the time of referral, BJJS ensures that every resident receives individualized treatment services based upon criminogenic risk, need, and responsivity factors. The BJJS’ State Court Liaison Specialists work closely with Pennsylvania’s county juvenile court system, the Youth Development Center/Youth Forestry Camp (YDC/YFC) system and private provider agencies to ensure residents are placed in the least restrictive and most appropriate setting.

BJJS has mandated the implementation of the Master Case Planning System (MCPS). Within the framework of Balanced and Restorative Justice (BARJ) principles, this system is designed to accomplish four tasks.

  1. To ensure maximum participation on the part of the resident, families, courts, probation officers, clinical and educational staff in the development of the competency-based continuum of services.
  2. To ensure standardization in documentation and the case planning process for all facilities.
  3. Provide services that are designed to return the resident to the community better equipped to be a productive member of society.
  4. To ensure that each resident be held accountable to the victim, the community, the court and family.

Limited English Proficiency (LEP)

To meet the needs of individuals having Limited English Proficiency (LEP), facilities throughout the YDC/YFC system are prepared to make reasonable accommodations; to include oral language interpretation, translation of written materials, and notice to persons with LEP of their right to language assistance and their availability of such assistance free of charge.

Educational Services

Educational services are provided through agreements between the Pennsylvania Department of Education and local intermediate units. Instructional education is provided 180 days each year and offer a highly structured, small classroom environment designed to provide individual attention. Educational programs are designed to meet the needs of each resident. In order to best meet the educational needs of each resident, facility and educational staff work together to develop a comprehensive education plan and separate Individual Education Plan (IEP) as required for each student. Our faculty teaches core subjects as well as more specialized needs, such as life skills and vocational training.

One of the objectives of BJJS educational services is to upgrade the residents’ skills in order to enable them to return to and function in the public school system. It is also encouraged that the residents achieve the highest grade level possible. Residents are supported and encouraged to obtain either their high school diploma or GED. For residents who qualify, we provide opportunities for post-secondary education.

Career & Technical Training

As Career and Technical Training programs are put into place, youth will be discharged from the YDC/YFC system with valuable employability skills and job training which will further align us with our vision of fostering hope and opportunities for success. Our system continues to strive toward empowering our residents, training them in relevant work skills, and providing them with a competitive edge that will encourage employers to look beyond their past and see a valuable employee. The YDC/YFC system offers valuable career and technical education programs, which include, but are not limited to:

OSHA-10 Certification; ServSafe Food Handler & Manager Certifications; Commit 2 Clean (Janitorial/Maintenance Program) Certification; CPR/First Aid Certification; Forklift Operator Certification; WIN Career Readiness Courseware and Work Keys Career Readiness Certification; Building Trades, which includes: Carpentry, Basic Electrical I & II, Basic Masonry I & II Block; and Microsoft Office Specialist (MOS) and International Computer Driving License (ICDL) Certification

All programs within the YDC/YFC system are Pennsylvania Academic & Career/Technical Training (PACTT) Affiliates, which means: We teach the PACTT Employability/Soft Skills; every resident develops and is provided with a Discharge Portfolio; we offer credit recovery/acceleration as well as numeric and literacy remediation opportunities. School records are exchanged in a timely manner; we partner with local Workforce Investment Boards (WIB).

The Pennsylvania Academic and Career/Technical Training Alliance (PACTT) has been recognized as an essential component in Pennsylvania's Juvenile Justice System Enhancement Strategy (JJSES). The project strives to ensure that delinquent youth receive appropriate academic, and career & technical training opportunities through committed affiliate partnerships with residential, community based and post-placement providers across the juvenile justice community.

PACTT was originally sponsored by the PA Council of Chief Juvenile Probation Officers and received funding from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency, and a fellowship provided to the Project Director by the Stoneleigh Center. In recognition of the important value that the project offers to one of the Commonwealth's most vulnerable populations, finding a long-term solution ensuring stability of the program was deemed essential. This goal was realized by formally transitioning the primary functions of PACTT to the Department of Human Services Bureau of Juvenile Justice Services (BJJS) through an extended private/public partnership.

To ensure that the effort continues to effectively meet the critical needs of the juvenile justice community, an Executive Steering Committee (ESC) comprised of key system stakeholders was assembled to monitor activities and provide direction to those responsible for the transition. The ESC includes representatives from the Department of Human Services (DHS), the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency (PCCD), the Juvenile Court Judges’ Commission (JCJC), the Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE), the Pennsylvania Council of Chief Juvenile Probation Officers (PCCJPO) and the Pennsylvania Council of Children, Youth & Family Services (PCCYFS). This important interagency initiative is designed to further develop job readiness, to ensure that effectively rigorous academic standards are provided to the adjudicated population and to significantly enhance employability skills for those youth involved within the affiliate programs.

To accomplish this task, BJJS will utilize a regional staffing and resource approach to assist service implementation by member agencies, prospective partners and identified adjunct providers. Career Technical Education Associates and Basic Education Advisors will be deployed within the Western, Central and Eastern regions to assist agencies in meeting their Academic and Career & Technical Training goals. Specifically designated as field positions, these individuals will serve the system needs by providing on-site technical support, academic & career program assessment and advocacy services. In addition to direct program service, the regional staff will serve as resource personnel to county probation departments, Workforce Investment Boards (WIB), post-secondary education and training institutions and community business partners that provide employment opportunities to the youth workforce.

Residential providers, community based programmers, educational groups, business & industry personnel, county officials and those interested in exploring potential opportunities or assistance are encouraged to contact the project leadership identified below to learn more about this exciting endeavor.

David Dickson, BJJS/PACTT Program Director (724) 658-2574 or (724) 965-8092, dadickson@pa.gov

Work Training Program

Residents are afforded the opportunity to participate in Work Training Programs (WTP) as an integral component of their treatment and competency development. WTPs must comply with Child Labor Laws, which outline prohibited job duties and the amount of hours participants are allowed to work given their particular age. In accordance with the PA Juvenile Act (42 Pa.C.S.Sec.6351), WTP participants must contribute 75 percent of their earnings to restitution as part of the treatment and rehabilitation process. Participants that do not owe restitution, court costs or fines are encouraged (not mandated) to donate a portion of their earnings to a non-profit organization of their choice. The agency must document disbursement of all resident funds.

There are several WTP categories and titles for residents to choose from within each facility. Some programs offer job opportunities within the community. WTPs must include an educational component that focuses on pre-employment skills, including but not limited to resume development, job searching, budgeting, banking, checkbook balancing and interviewing skills. In addition, each WTP must include an application and interview process.