Youth Diversion Program
It is the goal of the Napa Community Youth Diversion Program to work in partnership with the community by assisting youth who are exhibiting at-risk behaviors, which if not addressed, may lead to criminal behavior. We focus on delivering quality programs which in turn inspire youth to make positive changes in their lives while taking responsibility for their actions.
In early 1999, the Napa Community Youth Diversion Program came together to respond to delinquency issues in their early stages. The program includes a formal and informal referral system for parents, law enforcement, schools, probation, and the courts to use to get at-risk and delinquent juvenile’s meaningful and immediate attention.
Program Components & Objective
The program consists of 3 components; consequences, behavior modification, and positive activities and lifestyle choices. These components are managed by way of contract between juvenile, the parent, and the Napa Police Department. Each juvenile accepted into the program is assigned appropriate consequences for the behavior for which they were referred. In every case, an attempt is made to have the juvenile offender see a direct relationship between the behavior and the consequence. Consequences include but are not limited to, cleaning graffiti, picking up litter, washing vehicles, cleaning storefronts, washing windows, writing essays, community projects or paying restitution. All juveniles referred into the program participate in a 1 day seminar, which includes physical activity, team building exercises, and group discussions. A focus is placed on at risk factors that may have contributed to the manner in which the juvenile “acted out.”
A Diversion Specialist develops a treatment plan aimed at modifying the presented behaviors. A continuum of services provided through the Napa Police Department, ALDEA Inc., and a variety of public and non-profit agencies, is made available to each program participant. Example of services include: theft awareness workshops, alcohol and drug prevention services, conflict resolution skills development, gang diversion programs, self-esteem and goal setting curriculum's, anger management classes, and a variety of individual and family therapy services.
Truancy Prevention Program
The Diversion program is also responsible for the Truancy prevention program for parents and youth. This program includes parenting classes as well as family classes. The juvenile’s progress is mentored through a contract between the individual youth, the parent(s) /guardian(s), and the diversion worker. Depending on the need and the targeted behaviors, contracts last from three months, up to a year. The Diversion Specialist involves the youth in positive and growth-based activities to re-direct the youth’s previously misguided energies. These activities are based on the things that the youth is passionate about in life. Subsequently, the young athlete would have the opportunity to participate in football, basketball, baseball, soccer or the martial arts. Theater programs, dance, or creative writing projects are available for youth that feel attracted to these forms of self-expression. Older adolescents often times choose to obtain their driver’s license, seek employment, or prepare for college.
Case Management Services
At-risk youth also receive intense case management services. The Diversion program serves approximately 600 plus youth per year. Due to budgetary cuts the program is currently staffed by one full-time social - worker and one part-time para-professional. The diversion staff believe that the Juvenile Diversion program has made a significant impact on our community’s juvenile justice system and community’s youth violence problem.