Courts & Legal Assistance
Official Title: Courts & Legal Assistance
The well-being of children in the Commonwealth is affected by a variety of court functions and related types of legal assistance.
Notable among these functions is the enforcement of child support orders, federal support for these state enforcement efforts, and the work of the Probate and Family Court (PFC) which handles matters involving child support determination, child custody, child welfare, adoption, and abuse prevention.
The PFC's child-related work primarily involves protecting children from actual or potential harm. Another specially created court, the Juvenile Court, handles criminal cases in which juveniles are themselves defendants. Legal assistance is provided to juvenile defendants through the Youth Advocacy Department (YAD) (housed within the Committee for Public Counsel Services (CPCS)) for those youth whose families are unable to pay for private legal counsel. Because the YAD is not funded as an independent line-item separate from the CPCS, we do not include YAD funding in the Children's Budget.
Courts & Legal Assistance includes the following programs:
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- Early Ed & Care
- Early Ed Access
- Commonwealth Preschool Partnership Initiative
- Early Education and Care Provider Rate Increase
- Income Eligible Child Care (Child Care Access)
- Income Eligible Wait List
- Supportive and TANF Childcare
- TANF Related Child Care
- Tax Break for Child and Dependent Care Costs
- Tax Break for Daycare Expenses
- Tax Break for Dependent Under 12
- Early Ed Administration
- Quality & Targeted Programs
- Early Ed Access
- Human Services
- Common Threads