Glossary: T

Termination of Parental Rights

The discontinuance of biological parents’ rights that, when court-approved, enables a youth to be adopted. A parent whose rights have been terminated surrenders the right to access any information regarding the child, the right to make decisions about the youth's education or medical treatment, and the right to visit the youth.


The written record of a court hearing.


The process by which a juvenile court judge or prosecutor shifts the jurisdiction over a youth charged with a delinquent offense to adult criminal court. See also “Waiver of Jurisdiction."

Transition Plan

A plan created with a youth prior to discharge from care when a youth is age 18 or older. Under federal law, the plan must be created at least 90 days before discharge and must be directed by the youth. At minimum, a transition plan must include specific options on housing, health insurance, education, local opportunities for mentors and continuing support services, and work force supports and employment services. In Pennsylvania, the court must approve the transition plan before a youth can be discharged from care.


Experiencing or witnessing events involving actual or threatened injury or death and the resulting symptoms that interfere with daily functioning. Traumatic events affecting youth in the juvenile justice system may include neglect, physical and sexual abuse, observing community or domestic violence, or the death of friends or relatives. Symptoms may include emotional numbing, nightmares, sleep disturbances, academic decline, aggressive and antisocial behaviors, or suicidal thoughts.


Habitual absence from school. Because the law requires youth to attend school up to a certain age, skipping school or repeated absences violate the law. Truancy is a status offense because it only applies to minors.