Youth Courts in our communities: Systems change via the work of EDGAR CAHN & the CAHN COLLABORATIVE

Edgar Cahn discussed "true peer justice" and Youth Courts as part of a 4-hour CLE/Act 48 training at the Delaware County Bar Association on May 7, 2019. The 84-year-old founder of TimeBanking has devoted decades of his career to educational and juvenile justice reform. Recounting how the day before, he'd asked fourth grade students: "'Have you ever been subjected to something unfair?', over and over, they said, 'I've been bullied'" but didn't speak to an adult about it. The students "understand the basic concepts of justice" even at that young age, Cahn noted. 

Southeastern PA school districts with Youth Courts in place include Chester city, Upper Darby, Norristown, Cheltenham, Philadelphia and Methacton, primarily at the high school and middle school levels. Students are trained to serve as jurors, to ask questions of the student offender (respondent) about why s/he made the infraction, and how it affected the school, other students, etc. before determining a restorative punishment such as an apology to those affected, community service, and/or later service on a Youth Court jury.

Interested in youth courts but missed the CLE at Delco Bar? On Thursday, Oct. 17, 2019, the PA Council for the Social Studies (https://pcssonline.org) will hold a 6-hour Youth Courts session for both CLE and Act 48 credits.

 
 

William L. Baldwin (at left), Executive Director of the Delaware County Bar Association & LASP Board of Directors; Shawn Boehringer, LASP Executive Director; Gregory L. Volz, Esq., member of the Pennsylvania Joint State Government Commission Youth Court Advisory Committee; Brian Foster, Youth Court Trainer; Hon. Nathaniel C. Nichols, retired Court of Common Pleas judge, and primary judge for both Juvenile Dependency Court and Juvenile Delinquency Court in Delaware County from his election in 2011 to his retirement in 2018; Leslie Faith Jones, Esq., Policy & Advocacy Director, Montgomery County Public Defender's Office; Edgar Cahn, Esq., Distinguished Professor of Law at the University of District Columbia David A. Clarke School of Law, TimeBanking creator and Youth Courts advocate; Kathy Smith, Harcum College Law & Justice Program Director & Visiting Scholar at Rendell Center for Civics & Civic Engagement; Dr. Christine K. Gray, Ph.D., TimeBanks USA board member who, together with her husband, Edgar Cahn, teaches courses and workshops on Co-Production, TimeBanking, and systems change at community, professional, and graduate schools; and David Keller Trevaskis, PA Bar Association Pro Bono Coordinator.