Broke in Philly

New court order: Philly parents can fight for kids as some foster hearings restart

Previously suspended, the 10-day assessments will be held remotely.

gavel-justice
Flickr Creative Commons / Allen Allen
stevevolk

A vital part of dependency court is coming back on line, giving parents their first meaningful chance to get their kids back after a removal.

Philadelphia Courts President Judge Idee C. Fox issued an order Thursday that will restart adjudicatory hearings. Typically held within 10 days after a child has been removed from a home due to alleged abuse or neglect, these hearings had been suspended since Mar. 16, after a Pa. Supreme Court order granted city courts wide latitude on what proceedings could be halted during the pandemic.

Philly will now hold the hearings by phone, initially, bringing city dependency courts in line with those across the state in Allegheny County, which had already been holding them via teleconference.

Such hearings are a vital part of upholding due process rights for parents, advocates say.

“We are excited to see the court expand access to hearings for families, and are grateful to court leadership for their work to ensure that the voices of families are heard during this time,” said Kathleen Creamer, managing attorney of the Family Advocacy Unit of Community Legal Services, which represents parents in court. “We look forward to collaborating with the court as they work to further expand opportunities to ensure judicial review of these very important matters.”

There will be more to do.

Philly foster youth typically receive four status hearings per year, during which they can speak directly to the judge overseeing their case about any issue affecting them. Those hearings, for now, remain suspended. Philly foster youth are also still not receiving any in-person familial visits.

Since the outset of the pandemic, outside advocates have been scrambling to offer foster youth the support they need, providing both emotional support and housing.

Want some more? Explore other Broke in Philly stories.

Let the news come to you

Billy Penn’s free morning newsletter brings you the latest Philly news that everyone will be talking about in your Slack channel.

Nice to see you (instead of a paywall)

Billy Penn’s mission is to provide free, quality information to Philadelphians through our articles and daily newsletter. If you believe local journalism is key to a healthy community, join us!

Did you hear that?

That was the sound of you being informed after reading another BP article. If you believe local information should be free and accessible to all Philadelphians, will you support Billy Penn today?

Informing Philadelphians, one story at a time

Your generous donation brought this article to life. Become a sustaining member today to continue Billy Penn’s work.

Bring a friend into the Billy Penn-verse

Thanks for reading another story! Know a fellow Philadelphian that would appreciate BP? Tell them about our newsletter.

Tagged

Parenting