In re J.L.

Just before the winter holidays, a Pennsylvania court ordered that J.L., a minor, be removed from his family home and placed in a residential youth shelter because he had missed too many days of school. The judge ordered J.L.’s removal and placement even though she found J.L.’s parents to be “loving” and “vigilant” and there were no allegations of abuse or neglect.
Juvenile Law Center and Education Law Center filed an amicus brief in the Superior Court of Pennsylvania on behalf of J.L. Our brief argued that J.L.’s removal violated Pennsylvania statute which requires that removal of a child only be used as a last resort and when clearly necessary to protect the child or the community. Our brief further outlined the ineffectiveness and long-lasting harms of residential placements on children. Finally, we highlighted research demonstrating that community-based services are effective in addressing truancy while preventing the harms of removal and placement.