Delaware County Judge Nichols Named ‘Child Advocate of the Year’ by Pennsylvania Bar Association

HARRISBURG (March 19, 2018) — The Pennsylvania Bar Association (PBA) Children’s Rights Committee has named Delaware County Court of Common Pleas Judge Nathaniel C. Nichols of Media as its Child Advocate of the Year.

Nichols will receive the award at a luncheon ceremony during the committee’s spring training program, “Current Issues for Child Advocates 2018,” taking place April 20 at the Pennsylvania Bar Institute in Mechanicsburg. 

The award recognizes the accomplishments of lawyers and judges who are advocates for children within the commonwealth or who are involved with child advocacy.

Nichols has been serving as the primary judge for both Juvenile Dependency Court and Juvenile Delinquency Court in Delaware County since his election in 2011. Prior to that, he was associate dean of students and a professor at Widener University School of Law, an attorney in private practice and managing attorney at Delaware County Legal Assistance Association.

Throughout his time on the bench, Nichols has been dedicated to understanding the issues impacting the families and children he serves, as well as learning about the resources and services available in the community. He has advocated for additional resources and programs, as well as greater accessibility to them, when appropriate.

Nichols’ award nominations noted the attentiveness, respect and dignity he has shown to the children, families and stakeholders involved in dependency hearings, as well as the many independent visits he has made to placement facilities and child welfare providers across the state to gain better understanding. One nominator applauded his “civility and respect for all, his kindness with children and his willingness to go the extra mile.”

A supporter of creating a calm and comfortable environment in the courtroom for children and families, Nichols was pivotal in bringing therapy dogs from Paws for People, a nonprofit pet therapy organization, to Delaware County courts for Juvenile Court hearings.

Active in the community, Nichols was past president and board member of the Domestic Abuse Project, Delaware County Legal Assistance and Chester Education Foundation. He served on the Delaware County Historical Society, the Delaware County Housing Coalition and the Delaware County Bar Association boards of directors. Nichols is a member of the American, Pennsylvania and Delaware County Bar associations.

For his exemplary efforts, Nichols received the Rose Tree Media School District Service Award in 2010, PBA Pro Bono Award in 2008, Chester NAACP Judge Robert A. Wright Freedom Award in 2005, Widener Law School Alumni Association Professor of the Year Award in 2003, Delaware County Bar Association Elizabeth Price Service Award in 2001 and Domestic Abuse Project Victims’ Rights Award in 1990.

Nichols received a B.A. from Howard University and J.D. from Columbia University.

In addition to the presentation of the award to Nichols, the full day training program will include a complete summary of significant case law and legislative developments, exposure to up and coming trends and effective strategies for best representing juveniles in the court system. Topics are to include: advocating for extended care in challenging cases, the impact of the opioid epidemic on children and human trafficking. To learn more about the PBI’s offerings and this session, visit its website at or for specific program information.

Founded in 1895, the Pennsylvania Bar Association strives to promote justice, professional excellence and respect for the law; improve public understanding of the legal system; facilitate access to legal services; and serve the 26,000 lawyers who are members of the association.