While timeliness is important in all court disputes, it is particularly important in cases involving the rights and interests of children — especially those who are involved in and forced to remain in unstable and sometimes violent circumstances.
Because childhood is so short, time-wise, and children need stable and safe environments, it is critical that timely and efficient decision-making occurs by those who exercise legal decision making authority over children. This is especially so in cases involving custody, paternity, dependency, termination of parental rights and adoption.
Appeals to the Pennsylvania Superior Court and the Pennsylvania Supreme Court can result in lengthy delays to a final disposition beyond a trial court's decision. When abused and neglected children are awaiting permanency such delays can have significant, long term implications.
In an effort to expedite appeals involving dependent children, effective March 16, 2009, the Pennsylvania Superior Court implemented new appellate rules governing custody, adoption, termination of parental rights, paternity, and dependency cases. The new rules are known as the Children's Fast Track (CFT). (Expedited Appeals Order; Exedited Appeals Definitions).