Dauphin County Administrator Hired to Direct Statewide Office of Children and Families

HARRISBURG — Dauphin County’s Director of Human Services has been recruited to run the Pennsylvania Judiciary’s new Office of Children and Families in the Courts (OCFC), which is responsible for finding permanency for thousands of abused and neglected children who are in jeopardy of growing up without stable homes.

Sandra E. Moore, of Harrisburg, will begin serving as Administrator of the OCFC on Jan. 14, 2008. The Office is part of the AOPC’s Judicial Programs Department.

Moore has served as Dauphin County Human Services Director since 2004, managing a staff of more than 200 and overseeing the service delivery of various public agencies. She also is the Administrator of the Dauphin County Social Services for Children and Youth, an agency responsible for aiding neglected and abused children and their families. She brings more than 20 years of experience in the public child welfare system of two states (Pennsylvania and California) as well as knowledge in the areas of Mental Health/Mental Retardation, Drug & Alcohol, System Reform, and Community Collaboration to the post.

“We are thrilled that we found someone with Sandy’s knowledge, expertise, and statewide reputation to fill this critical role in our state court system,” said Justice Max Baer, a former Allegheny County Family Court judge who serves as the contact between the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania and the Office of Children and Families. “This step will enhance the development and level of activity of the OCFC, as it embarks on another successful year.”

The office was created in October 2006 to make Family Courts more responsive to the needs of children and families chiefly by spreading best practices and coordinating cooperation and communication among Pennsylvania’s 67 counties. During the first year of its operation, the OCFC has created local, regional, and statewide work groups to begin this process. Through these work groups, three exciting new practices are being implemented in Pennsylvania, with others being assessed for future development.

New Court Office Aims to Aid State’s Dependent Children

HARRISBURG — On any given day in Pennsylvania, there are some 20,000 dependent children — abused and neglected they have been placed in foster homes or temporary residential settings where they can wait, in some cases, for years before being placed in a permanent home.

“That’s too many dependent children in the system,” says Chief Justice of Pennsylvania Ralph J. Cappy, “and it’s far too long for a child to wait to be placed in a permanent home where hopefully they will find stability and normalcy in their life.”

On Tuesday, June 26 at the Hershey Motor Lodge in Hershey, PA, beginning at 9:30 a.m., the state Supreme Court will hold the first-ever State Roundtable to improve the plight of dependent children.

The State Roundtable culminates over a year of planning by the Court and the Office of Children and Families in the Courts (OCFC) to establish 60 local Children Roundtables (one in each of Pennsylvania’s Judicial Districts) and ten Leadership Roundtables throughout the state.

OCFC was created in Oct 2006 with the broad goal to make family courts more responsive to the needs of children and families. The roundtables were created to establish a statewide infrastructure that allows for effective administration and communication among Pennsylvania’s judicial districts and child welfare services.

“We believe the State Roundtable will have a profound effect on how abused and neglected children fare in the Pennsylvania judicial system,” said Justice Max Baer, a former administrative judge of family court in Allegheny County. Justice Baer is acting on behalf of the Supreme Court to guide OCFC within the Administrative Office of Pennsylvania Courts.