Benchbook Committee

The Pennsylvania Dependency Benchbook Committee is chaired by the Honorable Craig Miller, President Judge, Clinton County Court of Common Pleas. Judge Miller assumed the Chairperson role from the Honorable Kimberly Clark, President Judge, Allegheny County of Common Pleas, in 2019. During Judge Clark’s tenure as Chairperson from 2012 to 2019, she and the committee successfully revised the third edition of the Pennsylvania Dependency Benchbook. These revisions incorporate congregate care and family finding in addition to updates to new laws and rules.

Judge Clark assumed the leadership of the Committee following the retirement of the Honorable Chester Harhut in 2012. Judge Harhut led the valiant effort to plan and construct the 1st and second edition editions of the Benchbook. Dedicated, experienced, knowledgeable, and thoughtful judges serve on the Benchbook Committee. This committee serves as the judicial advisory group tasked with developing and editing content for the Dependency Benchbook and the Dependency Benchbook Resource Companion. The committee also provides feedback on judicial educational sessions, interprets court observation data, and approves the addition of workgroup materials into the Benchbook. Members of the Benchbook Committee can be found here.

The PA Dependency Benchbook is a comprehensive resource created by Pennsylvania judges for Pennsylvania judges. The Benchbook provides guidance and helpful information regarding courtroom management, quality hearings, and other important topics. While designed to assist judicial officers, the Benchbook may also be helpful to attorneys, child welfare practitioners, and others involved in dependency proceedings. The 3rd edition of the Benchbook can be found here.

In February 2022, the Pennsylvania Dependency Benchbook Committee released the Pennsylvania Dependency Benchbook Resource Companion (PBRC) 2nd Edition. This newly revised document contains updated, cutting-edge social science resources applicable to dependency proceedings. With seventeen social science sections, the PBRC is a one-of-a-kind tool sure to help everyone involved in Pennsylvania’s Child Dependency System. To access the PBRC click here.