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JUVENILES

Truancy Prevention and Child Support Enforcement

We are committed to giving every child in Philadelphia a strong foundation for life success. 

To thrive, all children need love, attention, access to a good education and the resources required for a safe, secure and healthy childhood.

The District Attorney’s Office is responsible for addressing truancy in designated School District of Philadelphia charter schools without a dedicated truancy officer.

We are also a resource for families seeking full financial support from both parents. Raising children is expensive, and fairness dictates everyone fulfills their legal obligation to contribute. If they don’t, we see to it that the law is enforced.

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“We are no longer incarcerating youth as a first step.”

LARRY KRASNER
District Attorney
City of Philadelphia

JUVENILE JUSTICE: TRUANCY PREVENTION

Called Project GO, the Juvenile Justice Unit’s truancy efforts focus on ending “the school-to-prison pipeline,” keeping young people from ever entering the juvenile justice system simply because they were truant.

Students across the state are considered truant when they miss six days from school without a valid excuse. Research tells us students who attend school regularly and stay in school are far less likely to engage in the kinds of behaviors that get them caught up in the system.

Philadelphia youth, however, face challenges tied to poverty and social inequities, including stark educational and economic disparities, that pose real barriers to regular, on-time school attendance. 

In supporting families to uphold truancy laws, Project GO does not criminalize families for factors beyond their control. Instead, we partner with schools, families, youth advocates and other juvenile justice stakeholders to uncover, track and eliminate barriers to regular school attendance. We also help young people build relationships and access community resources that support and stabilize their school attendance.

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“Our success rate remains high with only a small percentage of the 500 students we help each year reporting truancy issues. 
That’s because we insist on a holistic, culturally-attuned, trauma-informed, non-punitive approach. 
We meet families where they are in providing the support they need.”

SARAH J. SHAW THOMAS
Senior Program Manager
Project GO

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“We put children first by helping parents and custodians assume responsibility for their financial stability and social well-being.”

JOAN ESMONDE
Supervisor
Child Support Enforcement Unit

215-686-1979
[email protected]

JUVENILE JUSTICE: CHILD SUPPORT ENFORCEMENT

We are here to help parents and custodians of children in Philadelphia establish and collect child support in Family Court.

A unit staff of ten attorneys and four paralegals handle the court proceedings and interception of other assets, including bank accounts, estates, proceeds from personal injury lawsuits and other types of assets allowable by law. 

We also advise clients and handle paternity, interstate-support and military-support cases, as well as act as a liaison with Family Court to resolve any problems or issues that may arise in child support cases.