In 1988, Joyce graduated from the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia with a Master of Science in Education degree in Psychological Services. Joyce studied Family Therapy at the Philadelphia Child Guidance Clinic, West Branch. She accepted a summer position and stayed at then Try-Again Homes for the next 7 and one-half years. Joyce soon directed the program she had begun working in, was responsible for the development, licensing, and work of two drug and alcohol treatment programs within public housing areas, and worked with court mandated delinquent youth where she fell in love with the law. In 1991, Joyce earned a Post-Graduate Certificate in Family Therapy from the University of Pittsburgh. Following an internship, Joyce accepted a position in November 1995 as Court Crier for a judge of the Court of Common Pleas of Washington County. Joyce worked full time and went to the Duquesne University School of Law in the Evening program where she completed her Juris Doctor Degree cum laude in 1997 over a period of four years. Two weeks after being sworn into practice, in January of 1998, Joyce accepted a position as the first full-time Attorney for Washington County Children and Youth Services, a calling she loved. Joyce retired from the county in September 2016 after more than 20 years of service to the county, including 18 years of service with CYS. Joyce currently accepts Washington County court appointments in Orphan’s Court and Juvenile Delinquency matters and engages in the private practice of law. In January through June 2018, Joyce provided part-time legal services to Greene County Children and Youth.
Joyce believes firmly in a life of service and has served her community and profession well. She has served as an elected Executive Board Member for the Washington County Bar Association, having completed two 3-year terms. She has chaired or co-chaired the county’s Law Day committee for at least the last 15 years. In 2008, she co-founded ChildFirst Pennsylvania, a Forensic Interview and Court Preparation Training program and in March 2012, Pennsylvania was certified as a ChildFirst state. www.childfirstpa.org
Joyce has twice argued before the PA Supreme Court, which decides what cases they will hear and extensively before the PA Superior Court. She has helped to shape law for children and families across Pennsylvania in such cases as J.E.F., In re: S.P., B.L.L., In re: A.D., and others.
Joyce is the last of eight children born to the late Earl Hatfield who deceased in 1972 and the late Dorothy Grace Hatfield who deceased in 2003, both of Washington.
Joyce and her husband, Don of 29 years have resided in Amwell Township, Washington County for 27 years. They have two children, a son, Ean Donald, soon to be age 22, a student at Duquesne University and a daughter, Zoe Grace, age 18, a Senior Dance major at Lincoln Park Performing Arts Charter School, a free public charter school for the performing arts located in Midland, Pennsylvania.
In 2011, Joyce was named “Government Lawyer of the Year” by the Pennsylvania Bar Association. Also, in 2011, Joyce was awarded the John L. Northrop Vocational Service Award by the Rotary Club of Washington County. In 2013, Joyce was presented with a Community Education Award by the League of Women Voters of Washington County. Also, in 2013, Joyce was presented with a Certificate of Meritorious Services by the Washington County Bar Association. In January of 2014, Joyce was awarded a scholarship from the Allegheny County Bar Association and the United States District Court for the Western District to attend the annual National Trial Advocacy College at the University of Virginia School of Law.
Joyce is an active member of the Washington County Bar Association and was a member of the Pennsylvania Bar Association through 2016 when the county Bar elected to end its unit county status. Joyce currently serves as a Trustee on the Board for the Washington County Bar Foundation. Joyce is a founding incorporator of the PA Children and Youth Solicitors Association where she remains an active member. Joyce has held every executive office there.
Joyce has taught continuing legal education through the Pennsylvania Bar Institute and Community College of Allegheny County, among others. Joyce has provided various trainings to staff, foster parents, and providers. Joyce is a lifelong learner.
Joyce has served as a church Elder and has directed numerous Vacation Bible Schools and Women’s Retreats. Joyce has a passion for kids. She is currently a member of the Living Stone Community Church, which meets in the bottom of the Beth Israel Synagogue on North Avenue in Washington. Joyce has been a Girl Scout Leader for more than 10 years, having started Troop 50556. Joyce was a weekly Volunteer at Canonsburg Hospital Inpatient Rehabilitation from June 2017 through December 2018.