Get Involved In The Juvenile Justice System

The Juvenile Division of York County Probation Services is seeking volunteers for a diversionary program meant to help hold youth accountable while avoiding the stigma of permanent criminal records.

The division’s Youth Aid Panel program started in 1997. Over the last three years, 752 clients have successfully completed the program, performing more than 8000 hours of community service in the process.

Under the program, select children facing summary and misdemeanor charges avoid entering the formal criminal justice system but are instead sent to court-sanctioned panels made up of community members.

The panels interview the children 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 juvenile. Like a court, the panel assigns a task(s) for the juvenile to complete. Examples include community service, letters of apology, drug and alcohol screenings, and writing/research assignments.

If the juvenile successfully completes the tasks, he/she will be successfully released from the program. No criminal record will be created for the juvenile and his/her name will be expunged from all documents related to the arrest.

The Probation Department is seeking volunteers to serve on a Youth Aid Panel. There are Youth Aid Panels in each of the school districts 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.

New panel members must attend two training sessions. The panels meet once a month with the juveniles and their family in the evening.

If interested, please contact Lori Petraco at 771-9567 ext. 306 or Kristy Woltman at ext. 357 by Friday, May 2.

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