Youth Diversion Program
The Youth Diversion Program (YDP) is designed and administered by the Burlington Police Department in partnership with several social service agencies in Alamance County. Its purpose is to offer qualified juveniles the opportunity to avoid prosecution in the court system. In creating channels to navigate away from traditional processing, this voluntary diversion program serves as an opportunity to change youth's behaviors and reduce the risk of criminal socialization by providing role models and positive peers, instilling discipline, improving school engagement, and increasing levels of overall youth functioning.
Benefits of Diversion
- Maintaining youth connectedness and engagement in the community by keeping the youth in their environment.
- Reduction in out-of-home placements, especially for younger children.
- Reduce the costs of formal court proceedings by diminishing the burden on the juvenile court system and detention facilities (decreasing caseloads of prosecutors, judges, and court counselors and # of youth detained).
- Allow for the system’s limited resources to be reallocated toward juveniles who commit more serious offenses.
- Allow officers to return to their duties timelier.
- Assurance of equitable opportunities for diversion and linkage to community services and support for all populations to decrease disproportionate minority contact with the justice system.
17 years old or younger at the time of offense
- 17 years old or younger at the time of offense
- No adult record or pending charges.
- Must be a misdemeanor or low-level non-violent felony offense or a youth at present risk for such an offense.
Process and Compliance
The YDP begins when a law enforcement officer makes a referral to Youth Diversion Coordinator (YDC) instead of pursuing a juvenile petition or making an arrest where probable cause exists. The YDP will work with the youth to create a well-rounded diversion plan that addresses issues like community service hours, mental health and substance use education or treatment, skill building classes, and restorative justice opportunities. After a period of up to six months, the YDC will determine if there has been successful compliance with the diversion plan terms. If there is compliance, no petition will be filed. If there has not been compliance, the YDC will notify the referring officer which may result in formal court processing at the discretion of the officer.
The Youth Diversion Coordinator provides screenings to participants for the purpose of ensuring linkage with evidence-based treatment, services, and support. Once youths are screened the typical services provided or referrals for youth and families can include one or more but not limited to the following:
- Screening and assessment
- Education and tutorial services
- Restorative Justice
- Service-learning programs
- Substance use education and counseling.
- Job skills training
- Mental health treatment
- Crisis intervention
- Family counseling
- Parenting skill development
- Supports for rebuilding family relationships.
- Quality recreation and organized sports programs
The program also takes referrals from community agencies and the public. If you would like to inquire about how, please contact the Youth Diversion Coordinator.
Contact: Youth Diversion Coordinator, YoLanda Whitted, 336-516-4883, email@example.com