Allegheny County's Family Court has reorganized in line with best practices across the country to serve families better. Judge David Wecht says the court used to have separate divisions, adult and juvenile, with most judges assigned to one or the other. This meant families with different issues would have to start over with a different judge, unfamiliar with their family, when they came back to court, which was costly in both time and money.
Now, besides increasing in number from thirteen to fifteen, the judges have completed cross training so they can deal with all family issues, ranging from custody, divorce, juvenile delinquency, juvenile dependency, protection from abuse, alimony, etc.
Wecht says the reorganization is timely because the number of crossover cases has been increasing in recent years.
Judges are reviewing the new procedures weekly, monthly and quarterly to see what else might improve the quality of service in Family Court, according to Wecht.