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Child Friendly Courthouse

At the Centre County Courthouse, a new feature is aimed at providing comfort to a group who sometimes, despite their fears, are forced to make an appearance in Court.

Children in Courtrooms, where it can be an unfamiliar and unfriendly environment, is usually not a good situation. Amy Frank saying: “We listened to children who have spent time in the Courthouse. We asked them what they wanted and needed from a space at the Courthouse. Then, we responded to what they told us.” Amy Frank volunteers at a Shelter for Youth At Risk. After hearing from two kids there, nervous about going to Court, Frank and host of others were “On a Mission” as Frank terms it, to create a child friendly space at the Courthouse.

Unveiled Wednesday, it is not a room with toys and TV’s. Frank saying: “We were very intentional in the way we created this space. There’s nothing that lights up. There’s nothing that sings. There are no screens in the space. That’s all because when children enter that space, we really want it to help them be at peace.”

Unfortunately, more kids at risk or caught in other legal entanglements are being forced to make Court appearances. Here a Community Backed Project will hopefully help in calming fears. A Project sparked by youthful concerns. Frank, in closing: “I was able to tell one of the young women who had the original idea for this space, that it actually came to be. I was able to show her photos and she was blown away by the fact her words had an impact that will serve children from all over the County.”

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