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Beaver, Butler, Fayette counties to receive training in supporting abused, neglected children

September 23, 2018

Beaver, Butler and Fayette are among six counties in the state where officials will undergo training to improve services for abused and neglected children by applying new techniques to child dependency systems, the Administrative Office of Pennsylvania Courts said Wednesday.

The Western Pennsylvania counties will be joined by officials from Snyder, Tioga and Venango counites in the State Roundtable’s Family Engagement Initiative. The collaborative effort among state and national court and child welfare leaders seeks to increase family involvement, reduce trauma to children and reduce the time children are separated from those who love and care for them, the AOPC said.

“Identifying and involving extended family members and close friends in the lives of child welfare families is so important and many times requires the support of all local leaders within the selected counties,” said Sandy Moore, director of the Office of Children and Families in the Courts. The counties receive specialized resources developed for them as well as training from international experts to enhance the way they help serve abused or neglected children and their families, according to the AOPC.

Officials in seven counties in central and northeastern Pennsylvania underwent the training beginning in September 2017 and implemented measures starting in January. There is ongoing training as well as other types of support and resources provided to officials in those counties, said Kimberly Bathgate, a spokeswoman for the AOPC.

The selection process was statewide, competitive and rigorous. Counties had to submit a letter of interest, including signatures from the lead dependency judge, the president judge, the county commissioners and the child welfare director.

Strong administrative collaboration between the court and children welfare agencies and current family engagement practices were among the factors considered in the selection.

The counties were selected by the Families in the Courts office, the Office of Children, Youth and Families and state Supreme Court Justice Baer.

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