Juvenile Court Diversion
Seacoast Youth Services offers juvenile court diversion to youth and their families in the lower region of Rockinham County. This service is an alternative community response for the local family court and police departments. Youth may be referred for delinquent offenses such as trespassing, threatening, simple assault, possession of alcohol or other drugs, vandalism or shoplifting items with a value less than $250.00.
The Seacoast Youth Services Diversion Program encourages responsibility among youth by offering alternatives to court intervention while holding them accountable for their actions.
The Diversion Process:
- Intake: Following a referral, youth and his/her family meets with an SYS staff person to complet an intake. The intake session provides SYS with background information on the youth and family and gives the opportunity to discuss the incident to determine elibibility. The staff member will introduce the youth to the responsibilities required of participants.
- The Contract Hearing: Once accepted into the program, the youth and family appear before the Diversion Panel to discuss the offense and answer any questions, The Diversion Panel, which consists of a psychiatrist and adult community leaders, determines the appropriate plan of accountability. A Contract of Consequences is presented to the youth and youth are asked to commit themselves to fulfilling the contract in a specified amount of time.
- The Review Hearing: Participants will meet with the Diversion Panel at the end of the contract period. The case will be reviewed and if the youth successfully completes the contract on time, the referring police department will be notified that the case brought against the youth is formally closed.
A Contract of Consequences can include:
- Substance abuse screening
- Referral to appropriate programs such as Challenge, ASAP, or Project Adventure (please check website for full description of each program)
- Community service
- Educational workshops addressing the issues pertinent to the incident
- A research paper or project concentrating on the issues surrounding the incident
- A letter of apology to parents, family members, or victims
- Youth is under age 17
- It is a chargeable offense: the facts of the case would lead to a court hearing
- The facts of the police report are not contested
- The youth is willing to take full responsibility for their actions
- Cases with serious or physically aggressibe offenses are excluded