Glossary: I

"In Custody"

A circumstance in which a youth is either formally arrested or held by police without the freedom to leave. When a juvenile is “in custody,” police must read him his Miranda rights and cannot ask him questions unless s/he knowingly and voluntarily waives those rights.

Independent Living Coordinator or Worker

The person who makes sure that youth in foster care who are 16 and older receive independent living services as required by the Chafee Foster Care Independence Act.

Independent Living Plan (IL)

A plan required by federal law for all children in the child welfare system age 16 or older. The plan must define the skills the youth will need to successfully transition to adulthood and identify the services or instruction that will be provided to help the youth master those skills. The IL plan is part of the Child Permanency Plan (CPP).

Independent Living Services

A broad array of services that help prepare the youth for the transition to adulthood. These services must be provided to youth at least at age 16, but can begin earlier. Services may include educational planning and support, vocational training, job placement, budgeting support, apartment searching assistance, and financial management. In Pennsylvania, all youth who are involved with the child welfare and/or juvenile justice system may receive IL services. Under the Chafee Foster Care Independence Act, youth are eligible for IL services until they turn 21, even if they are no longer in foster care.

Independent Student

A determination used for calculating financial aid. When youth are deemed “independent” their parent’s financial information is not considered in calculating financial aid. A youth who was in foster care or a dependent or a ward of the court at age 13 or older is an independent student. 


An individual who is unable to pay for a defense attorney. Youth who are accused of committing delinquent acts are guaranteed the right to an attorney by the Sixth Amendment to the United States Constitution, which means that indigent youth are entitled to a cost-free, court-appointed attorney.

Individualized Service Plan (ISP)

A set of goals for a youth and his or her family created by the agency that is directly providing care to the family.

Ineffective Assistance of Counsel

The failure of a lawyer to perform all reasonable professional tasks for his client as required by the Sixth Amendment to the United States Constitution. When a youth loses a delinquency or criminal case at trial because of major mistakes made by his lawyer, he may appeal the court’s decision due to “ineffective assistance of counsel.”

Information Sharing

The exchange of a youth’s records (health, education, disciplinary, criminal, etc.) among agencies and systems that have contact with the youth.


The process following arrest or referral to the juvenile court in which court personnel or the juvenile probation department investigates a youth’s charges and background and decides whether to release the youth, channel the youth to a diversion program, or formally proceed against him/her in juvenile court.