Allegheny County Family Court Administrative Judge Kim Berkeley Clark and Allegheny County Chief Executive Dan Onorato today announced a pilot program at eight sites where children can participate in legal proceedings without being in a courtroom. Incarcerated parents of children with issues in the courts could also use the system, as well as expert witnesses. A public-private partnership acquired the technology: Child Watch of Pittsburgh, Children's Court, the Allegheny County Department of Human Services, and other community organizations.
Full implementation of the program will include 36 locations in courts, CYF offices, hospitals, mental health offices, and jails.
The system is expected to save time and money, but the main benefit will be to reduce the trauma of children who must testify in front of adults who may have abused or neglected them.