§ 6302. Definitions.
The following words and phrases when used in this chapter shall have, unless the context clearly indicates otherwise, the meanings given to them in this section:
"Age-appropriate or developmentally appropriate." The following:
(1) activities or items that are generally accepted as suitable for children of the same chronological age or level of maturity or that are determined to be developmentally appropriate for a child based on the development of cognitive, emotional, physical and behavioral capacities that are typical for an age or age group; and
(2) in the case of a specific child, activities or items that are suitable for the child based on the developmental stages attained by the child with respect to the cognitive, emotional, physical and behavioral capacities of the child.
"Aggravated circumstances." Any of the following circumstances:
(1) The child is in the custody of a county agency and either:
(i) the identity or whereabouts of the parents is unknown and cannot be ascertained and the parent does not claim the child within three months of the date the child was taken into custody; or
(ii) the identity or whereabouts of the parents is known and the parents have failed to maintain substantial and continuing contact with the child for a period of six months.
(2) The child or another child of the parent has been the victim of physical abuse resulting in serious bodily injury, sexual violence or aggravated physical neglect by the parent.
(3) The parent of the child has been convicted of any of the following offenses where the victim was a child:
(i) criminal homicide under 18 Pa.C.S. Ch. 25 (relating to criminal homicide);
(ii) a felony under 18 Pa.C.S. § 2702 (relating to aggravated assault), 3121 (relating to rape), 3122.1 (relating to statutory sexual assault), 3123 (relating to involuntary deviate sexual intercourse), 3124.1 (relating to sexual assault) or 3125 (relating to aggravated indecent assault).
(iii) A misdemeanor under 18 Pa.C.S. § 3126 (relating to indecent assault).
(iv) An equivalent crime in another jurisdiction.
(4) The attempt, solicitation or conspiracy to commit any of the offenses set forth in paragraph (3).
(5) The parental rights of the parent have been involuntarily terminated with respect to a child of the parent.
(6) The parent of the child is required to register as a sexual offender under Subchapter H of Chapter 97 (relating to registration of sexual offenders) or to register with a sexual offender registry in another jurisdiction or foreign country.
"Aggravated physical neglect." Any omission in the care of a child which results in a life-threatening condition or seriously impairs the child's functioning.
"Assessment." An individualized examination of a child to determine the child's psychosocial needs and problems, including the type and extent of any mental health, substance abuse or co-occurring mental health and substance abuse disorders and recommendations for treatment. The term includes, but is not limited to, a drug and alcohol, psychological and psychiatric evaluation, records review, clinical interview and the administration of a formal test and instrument.
"Board." The State Sexual Offenders Assessment Board.
"Caregiver." A person with whom the child is placed in an out-of-home placement, including a resource family or an individual designated by a county agency or private agency. The resource family is the caregiver for any child placed with them.
"Child." An individual who:
(1) is under the age of 18 years;
(2) is under the age of 21 years who committed an act of delinquency before reaching the age of 18 years; or
(3) is under the age of 21 years and was adjudicated dependent before reaching the age of 18 years, who has requested the court to retain jurisdiction and who remains under the jurisdiction of the court as a dependent child because the court has determined that the child is:
(i) completing secondary education or an equivalent credential;
(ii) enrolled in an institution which provides postsecondary or vocational education;
(iii) participating in a program actively designed to promote or remove barriers to employment;
(iv) employed for at least 80 hours per month; or
(v) incapable of doing any of the activities described in subparagraph (i), (ii), (iii) or (iv) due to a medical or behavioral health condition, which is supported by regularly updated information in the permanency plan of the child.
"County agency." The term as defined in 23 Pa.C.S. § 6303 (relating to definitions).
"Court." The court of common pleas.
"Court-appointed special advocate" or "CASA." An individual appointed by the court to participate as an advocate for a child who is dependent or alleged to be dependent.
"Custodian." A person other than a parent or legal guardian, who stands in loco parentis to the child, or a person to whom legal custody of the child has been given by order of a court.
(1) The term means an act designated a crime under the law of this Commonwealth, or of another state if the act occurred in that state, or under Federal law, or an act which constitutes indirect criminal contempt under Chapter 62A (relating to protection of victims of sexual violence or intimidation) with respect to sexual violence or 23 Pa.C.S. Ch. 61 (relating to protection from abuse) or the failure of a child to comply with a lawful sentence imposed for a summary offense, in which event notice of the fact shall be certified to the court.
(2) The term shall not include:
(i) The crime of murder.
(ii) Any of the following prohibited conduct where the child was 15 years of age or older at the time of the alleged conduct and a deadly weapon as defined in 18 Pa.C.S. § 2301 (relating to definitions) was used during the commission of the offense which, if committed by an adult, would be classified as:
(A) Rape as defined in 18 Pa.C.S. § 3121 (relating to rape).
(B) Involuntary deviate sexual intercourse as defined in 18 Pa.C.S. § 3123 (relating to involuntary deviate sexual intercourse).
(C) Aggravated assault as defined in 18 Pa.C.S. § 2702(a)(1) or (2) (relating to aggravated assault).
(D) Robbery as defined in 18 Pa.C.S. § 3701(a)(1)(i), (ii) or (iii) (relating to robbery).
(E) Robbery of motor vehicle as defined in 18 Pa.C.S. § 3702 (relating to robbery of motor vehicle).
(F) Aggravated indecent assault as defined in 18 Pa.C.S. § 3125 (relating to aggravated indecent assault).
(G) Kidnapping as defined in 18 Pa.C.S. § 2901 (relating to kidnapping).
(H) Voluntary manslaughter.
(I) An attempt, conspiracy or solicitation to commit murder or any of these crimes as provided in 18 Pa.C.S. §§ 901 (relating to criminal attempt), 902 (relating to criminal solicitation) and 903 (relating to criminal conspiracy).
(iii) Any of the following prohibited conduct where the child was 15 years of age or older at the time of the alleged conduct and has been previously adjudicated delinquent of any of the following prohibited conduct which, if committed by an adult, would be classified as:
(A) Rape as defined in 18 Pa.C.S. § 3121.
(B) Involuntary deviate sexual intercourse as defined in 18 Pa.C.S. § 3123.
(C) Robbery as defined in 18 Pa.C.S. § 3701(a)(1)(i), (ii) or (iii).
(D) Robbery of motor vehicle as defined in 18 Pa.C.S. § 3702.
(E) Aggravated indecent assault as defined in 18 Pa.C.S. § 3125.
(F) Kidnapping as defined in 18 Pa.C.S. § 2901.
(G) Voluntary manslaughter.
(H) An attempt, conspiracy or solicitation to commit murder or any of these crimes as provided in 18 Pa.C.S. §§ 901, 902 and 903.
(iv) Summary offenses.
(v) A crime committed by a child who has been found guilty in a criminal proceeding for other than a summary offense.
"Delinquent child." A child ten years of age or older whom the court has found to have committed a delinquent act and is in need of treatment, supervision or rehabilitation.
"Dependent child." A child who:
(1) is without proper parental care or control, subsistence, education as required by law, or other care or control necessary for his physical, mental, or emotional health, or morals. A determination that there is a lack of proper parental care or control may be based upon evidence of conduct by the parent, guardian or other custodian that places the health, safety or welfare of the child at risk, including evidence of the parent's, guardian's or other custodian's use of alcohol or a controlled substance that places the health, safety or welfare of the child at risk;
(2) has been placed for care or adoption in violation of law;
(3) has been abandoned by his parents, guardian, or other custodian;
(4) is without a parent, guardian, or legal custodian;
(5) while subject to compulsory school attendance is habitually and without justification truant from school;
(6) has committed a specific act or acts of habitual disobedience of the reasonable and lawful commands of his parent, guardian or other custodian and who is ungovernable and found to be in need of care, treatment or supervision;
(7) has committed a delinquent act or crime, other than a summary offense, while under the age of ten years;
(8) has been formerly adjudicated dependent, and is under the jurisdiction of the court, subject to its conditions or placements and who commits an act which is defined as ungovernable in paragraph (6);
(9) has been referred pursuant to section 6323 (relating to informal adjustment), and who commits an act which is defined as ungovernable in paragraph (6); or
(10) is born to a parent whose parental rights with regard to another child have been involuntarily terminated under 23 Pa.C.S. § 2511 (relating to grounds for involuntary termination) within three years immediately preceding the date of birth of the child and conduct of the parent poses a risk to the health, safety or welfare of the child.
"Facility designed or operated for the benefit of delinquent children." A facility that either identifies itself by charter, articles of incorporation or program description as solely for delinquent children.
"Out-of-home placement." A setting that provides 24-hour substitute care for a child away from the child's parents or guardians and for whom the county agency has placement care and responsibility. The term includes resource family homes and supervised settings in which a child is living and, for a child who has attained 18 years of age, a supervised setting in which the individual is living independently. The term does not include secure facilities, facilities operated primarily for the detention of children who have been adjudicated delinquent, accredited psychiatric residential treatment facilities or hospitals.
"Private agency." An entity that provides out-of-home placement services to children under a contract with a county agency.
"Protective supervision." Supervision ordered by the court of children found to be dependent.
"Reasonable and prudent parent standard." The standard, characterized by careful and sensible parental decisions that maintain the health, safety and best interests of a child while encouraging the emotional and developmental growth of the child, that a caregiver must use when determining whether to allow a child in an out-of-home placement under the responsibility of the county agency to participate in extracurricular, enrichment, cultural and social activities.
"Resource family." As defined under section 3 of the act of November 22, 2005 (P.L.404, No.73), known as the Resource Family Care Act.
"Screening." A process, regardless of whether it includes the administration of a formal instrument, that is designed to identify a child who is at increased risk of having mental health, substance abuse or co-occurring mental health and substance abuse disorders that warrant immediate attention, intervention or more comprehensive assessment.
"Serious bodily injury." Bodily injury which creates a substantial risk of death or which causes serious, permanent disfigurement or protracted loss or impairment of the function of any bodily member or organ.
"Sexual violence." Rape, indecent contact as defined in 18 Pa.C.S. § 3101 (relating to definitions), incest or using, causing, permitting, persuading or coercing the child to engage in a prohibited sexual act as defined in 18 Pa.C.S. § 6312(a) (relating to sexual abuse of children) or a simulation of a prohibited sexual act for the purpose of photographing, videotaping, depicting on computer or filming involving the child.
"Shelter care." Temporary care of a child in physically unrestricted facilities. A facility approved by the Department of Public Welfare to provide shelter care may be located in the same building as a facility approved to provide secure detention services provided that children receiving shelter care services are segregated from the children receiving secure detention services as required by the department.
(Apr. 28, 1978, P.L.202, No.53, eff. 60 days; Dec. 11, 1986, P.L.1521, No.165, eff. 60 days; Mar. 15, 1995, 1st Sp.Sess., P.L.972, No.6, eff. 60 days; Nov. 17, 1995, 1st Sp.Sess., P.L.1127, No.33, eff. 120 days; June 18, 1998, P.L.640, No.84, eff. 60 days; Dec. 15, 1998, P.L.949, No.126, eff. Jan. 1, 1999; Dec. 15, 1998, P.L.978, No.128, eff. 60 days; Dec. 20, 2000, P.L.946, No.129, eff. 60 days; Aug. 14, 2003, P.L.97, No.21, eff. 180 days; Oct. 9, 2008, P.L.1396, No.109, eff. 60 days; July 5, 2012, P.L.880, No.91, eff. imd.; Oct. 25, 2012, P.L.1655, No.204, eff. imd.; March 21, 2014, P.L.365, No.25, eff. July 1, 2015; Dec. 28, 2015, P.L.559, No.94, eff. Jan. 1, 2016; Oct. 28, 2016, P.L.966, No.115, eff. imd.; June 28, 2018, P.L.361, No.49, eff. 60 days)
2018 Amendment. Act 49 amended the def. of "delinquent act."
2016 Amendment. Act 115 added par. (6) of the def. of "aggravated circumstances."
2015 Amendment. Act 94 added the defs. of "age-appropriate or developmentally appropriate," "caregiver," "out-of-home placement," "private agency," "reasonable and prudent parent standard" and "resource family."
2012 Amendments. Act 91 amended par. (3) of the def. of "child" and Act 204 amended par. (7) of the def. of "dependent child."
2012 Correction. Incorrect language was added to the def. of "aggravated circumstances" in 2012. The correct version of the def. appears in this title.
2008 Amendment. Act 109 added the defs. of "assessment" and "screening."
2003 Amendment. Act 21 added the def. of "board."
2000 Amendment. Act 129 amended the def. of "shelter care" and added the def. of "facility designed or operated for the benefit of delinquent children."
1998 Amendments. Act 126 amended the def. of "dependent child" and added the defs. of "aggravated circumstances," "aggravated physical neglect," "county agency," "serious bodily injury" and "sexual violence" and Act 128 added the def. of "court-appointed special advocate" or "CASA."
1995 Amendment. Section 8 of Act 33, 1st Sp.Sess., provided that Act 33 shall apply to all delinquent acts committed on or after the effective date of Act 33.
Care of Dependent Children. Section 31 of Act 53 of 1978 limits the liability of counties for costs of operating new shelter care programs for dependent children classified under paragraph (6) of the definition of "dependent child."
References in Text. The Department of Public Welfare, referred to in this section, was redesignated as the Department of Human Services by Act 132 of 2014.
Cross References. Section 6302 is referred to in sections 62A14, 6303, 6311, 6322, 6323, 6327, 6351, 6355, 6402 of this title; sections 6114, 6315 of Title 23 (Domestic Relations).