Rules 1120 and 1608 of the Rules of Juvenile Court Procedure will be modified next year to ensure Pennsylvania’s compliance with the federal Preventing Sex Trafficking and Strengthening Families Act (PSTSFA). The PSTSFA, enacted in 2014, requires state children and youth agencies to ensure they are providing appropriate services to children at risk of being victims of sex trafficking. Amended Rule 1120 will include three new definitions, “age-appropriate or developmentally-appropriate,” “caregiver,” and “reasonable and prudent parent standard.” Amended Rule 1608, which governs permanency hearings, utilizes these new terms as a component of strengthening families in the dependency system. A copy of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court’s December 9, 2015, order amending the rules is available here. For more detailed information on the substance of the amendments, consult the Juvenile Court Procedural Rules Committee’s Explanatory Report. These amendments are effective January 1, 2016.
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