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Juvenile Diversion Strategies and Models

Accession Number: 028271
Media Type: 

Large numbers of youth come in contact with the juvenile justice system each year. Many of these youth become involved with the juvenile justice system for relatively minor and nonviolent offenses. Often, a lack of appropriate community-based treatments and services to address youth’s specific [behavioral health] needs plays a role in their admission to juvenile justice programs. As a result, many youth become unnecessarily enmeshed in the juvenile justice system. Many states and localities are exploring diversion programs as a way to keep youth out of the juvenile justice system. An overview of juvenile diversion is presented below, followed by 16 steps of guidance from the juvenile justice field on implementing a successful diversion program. Sections include: overview—what diversion is, and why use diversion; guidance from the field--purpose (objectives, referral decision points, and extent of intervention), oversight (operations, and funding), intake criteria (referral and eligibility, and screening/assessment), operation policies (participant requirements, services, incentives, consequences of failure to comply, program completion/exit criteria), legal protections (information use, and legal counsel), and quality (program integrity, and outcome evaluation; and a list of and all resources referred to. Each of the 16 steps (noted under guidance from the field) have sections discussing the step in general, important questions, options, considerations, key websites, examples from the field, and critical resources.

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