Juvenile court differs from adult court in Pennsylvania in fundamental ways, whereas the focus at times of the adult criminal justice system is the punishment of the defendant. Although there has been a shift to more progressive values, in some instances, in the sense of the rehabilitation of the offender, the goal of the juvenile justice system is the treatment, rehabilitation, and supervision of the juvenile offender.
There's different terminology used in the juvenile system, different processes. For example, a juvenile case would often start with a detention hearing whereas in the adult court system, there would be a, say, preliminary arraignment or arraignment, there would be in the juvenile justice system, the use of the term 'adjudication of delinquency'. A juvenile could be adjudicated delinquent, which is not quite the same as being found guilty as is the term 'employed in adult court'. Supervision would be different in juvenile court if the court deemed it appropriate that this juvenile was in need of treatment, rehabilitation, and supervision.
The supervision would be done with the more, say, holistic approach. There's juvenile placement such as residential treatment facilities that would be used in more serious cases or where the juvenile was struggling, either at school or at home or continuing to get into trouble, court could also employ what's called a consent decree to give the juvenile a period of supervision to make sure that they do well in school and at home and remain out of trouble.
Fundamentally, the goal of the juvenile system is to get the young person back on track, whereas the goal of the adult system is to seek recourse for the crime victim if there is a victim, potentially the punishment of the defendant. Having an experienced Pennsylvania juvenile defense attorney in your child's corner from as early as possible the process will help you best understand and navigate the juvenile justice system.