Youth Court Day (Harrisburg)

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On Thursday, October 17th, the Pennsylvanian Council for the Social Studies will extend its work preparing for the implementation of the civic assessment of Act 35 with a 6-hour session on youth courts and civic engagement. 

The program will run from 8:30 a.m. registration to 3:00 p.m. with a working lunch.  This Youth Court Day in Harrisburg is free for any attendee but donations to support the Cahn Collaborative Fund, see details at , are appreciated.

Registration  Please use the PCSS contact page to register for this free event.

Tentative Agenda (CLE and Act 48 Provided)

9:00 AM Welcome—David Trevaskis

9:05 AM Youth Court, Co-Production, Systems Change - Dr. Edgar Cahn, Dr. Chris Gray
Dr. Cahn and Dr. Gray will share their work on co-production and systems change, tying into youth court while sharing Timebanking concepts.  

10:00 AM Benefits, Training, Costs, Barriers, Research - Gregg Volz 
Youth courts are used in both juvenile justice settings and schools but most in Pennsylvania are school based. Youth Courts reduced suspension by 1/3 in one PA school and prevented 250 suspensions over 3 years in another. Youth Courts can be embedded in existing social studies or language arts classes or run as electives or clubs.  Ignoring trauma, neuroscience/adolescent brain coupled with zero tolerance leads to punitive School to Prison Pipeline. Youth court blocks and reverses STPP. It trains youth, proves them with life skills and can place them in a school to career pipeline. It empowers “youth as resources” in resource-poor schools. It uses positive peer pressure to achieve restorative justice and is a platform for youth development: civic engagement, academic and socialization skills.  Cost is less than other restorative practices -students don’t get paid!

10:45 AM Mock Youth Court Hearing (Fact Pattern was real situation) Brian Foster, Leslie Jones, Kathy Smith
SCHOOL REFERRAL   Michael lit a firecracker in the lunchroom and created a major disruption. 
STUDENT STATEMENT   I was just trying to create a little action.

11:15 AM Perspectives, Voices, and Roles. Brian Foster, Gregg Volz, Leslie Jones, Kathy Smith
Trainer perspectives (lawyers, law students, college students, teachers) will be shared and roles for legal profession explored.  Various program models will be discussed.  There will be time for Q and A.

Lunch will be laid out at Noon.  We will work while we eat!

12 Noon Act 35 Civics Assessment and Youth Courts – Sally Flaherty and David Trevaskis 
The statewide Civics Assessment required for the 2020-21 academic year will be reviewed and the group will explore how youth courts fits into the mix.

1:00 PM Young People’s Voices on Youth Court—Student and Teacher Participants
Students and teachers involved in youth court from across the Commonwealth will share their experiences with youth court.

2:00 PM A Strategy for Moving Forward-- Kathy Smith moderates with all previous panelists 
SR 32 (Best practices, costs, and benefits) can inform a youth court plan for Pennsylvania. How to overcome major barriers. Securing political and juvenile justice support locally.  Untapped use of law schools, lawyers and law firms. Role for Youth Court Advisory Board.  Final time for Q and A  

3:00 PM Adjournment.


  • CLE Credit Comments:

    Six Total PA CLE Credits:
    - Four (4) Substantive Credits
    - Two (2) Ethics Credits

  • Contact:
    Pennsylvanian Council for the Social Studies