Message from the Judge In-Charge
Honorable Robert B. Kershaw, Judge In-Charge
Circuit Court for Baltimore City
Juvenile Justice Center
300 North Gay Street
Baltimore, Maryland 21202
Telephone: (443) 263-2793
Fax: (443) 263-2789
The Baltimore City Juvenile Court is a Court of limited jurisdiction with responsibility for delinquency, child welfare (Children in Need of Assistance and Children in Need of Supervision) and guardianship/adoption (Termination of Parental Rights or “TPR”) cases. The Juvenile Court is staffed by three full-time Judges and eleven full-time Magistrates. The Juvenile Court utilizes a Case Management System where the majority of pleadings are filed electronically. Scheduling and other orders are generated in the courtroom immediately following each hearing. The Court’s limited jurisdiction is governed by juvenile statutes, the Maryland Rules (Juvenile), and certain civil rules applicable in TPR cases. The Baltimore City Juvenile Court is a very active court, often challenged with societal problems and always benefited by dedicated Court and agencies’ personnel.
In November 2003, the Court relocated to the new Baltimore City Juvenile Justice Center. This 244,000 square foot facility includes a courthouse for the Juvenile Division (14 courtrooms and office/program space for Court staff) as well as offices and program space for the Juvenile Divisions of Court Clerk, State’s Attorney, Public Defender and the Department of Juvenile Services. Also included in the Justice Center is working space for the Baltimore City Department of Social Services and Legal Aid Bureau, a 24-hour Central Intake Area, and a 144-bed assessment and secure residential facility. The development of the Baltimore City Juvenile Justice Center offers the Juvenile Court and related agencies a centralized opportunity to provide both proven and creative new programs and services for the children and their families in Baltimore City.
Beginning in 2006, the Juvenile Court has been a Model Court site of the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges, under the leadership of Judge Bonita J. Dancy. The Court has adopted the best practice guidelines of child delinquency and child welfare and embraced the initiatives of NCJFCJ, including one family/one master, alternative dispute resolution, reduction of minority disparity and enhanced Court medical and education evaluations and referrals. In delinquency matters, alternatives to detention and diversion for services have been emphasized.