Glossary: J

John H. Chafee Foster Care Program for Successful Transition to Adulthood

This is a program created by federal law, 42 U.S.C.A. 677.  This is a program available in all counties in Pennsylvania and in all states across the country.  It is often called “the Chafee Program.”  The Chafee program includes services for youth as they get ready for adulthood while still in the system, like budgeting classes, help getting a job, and help planning and preparing for college.  It also includes the aftercare services you are eligible for after you leave the system until age 23, and can include things like stipends and room and board.  

Judicial Emancipation

A court order that assigns an individual under age 18 with some of the rights of an adult. In Pennsylvania, to gain judicial emancipation in most counties, a minor must show that he is living on his own and can financially support himself.

Juvenile Court

A court of law that has jurisdiction over cases involving children under a specific age, usually 18. Juvenile courts (sometimes referred to as family courts) generally preside over both delinquency and dependency proceedings.

Juvenile Life Without Parole (JLWOP)

An prison sentence that comprises a person’s entire natural life, without the possibility of release, for an offense committed before the age of 18. The United States Supreme Court has declared JLWOP to be an unconstitutional punishment for crimes for youth convicted of non-homicide offenses.

Juvenile Record

Records kept by the juvenile court with information and documents relevant to a youth’s delinquency charges, including information from the police, the probation department, a youth’s school, and health care and treatment providers. Depending on the jurisdiction, juvenile records may be sealed and/or expunged to prevent them from hindering employment or higher education opportunities.