York County Juvenile Probation Services is seeking volunteers for its Youth Aid Panel, a diversionary program that holds youth accountable while avoiding the stigma of permanent criminal records.
Under the program, select children facing summary and misdemeanor charges avoid entering the formal criminal justice system by being diverted to court-sanctioned panels made up of community members.
The panels interview the child and their families before deciding the appropriate course of action in the case. The goal is to address the needs of the victim, community and child. Like a court, the panel assigns tasks for the child to complete. Examples include community service, apology letters, drug and alcohol screenings and writing or research assignments.
If the child successfully completes the tasks, he or she will be released from the program. No criminal record will be created for the child and his or her name will be expunged from all documents related to the arrest.
There are youth aid panels in every school district in York County. No special training or background is required. Volunteers must be 18 years of age or older, have no criminal record and successfully pass PA child abuse and FBI clearances, if applicable.
The panels meet once a month with the juveniles and their family in the evening. There will be an informational session held for prospective volunteers at 6 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 12, 2019. New panel members must attend a one day training that will tentatively occur from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Oct. 5, 2019. Location to be determined.
This program started in 1997. Over the last three years, 732 clients have successfully completed the program, performing more than 4,800 hours of community service in the process.
Please contact Lori Petraco at 717-771-9567 ext. 2679 or Michelle Breen at ext. 2643, for more information.