An officer has an option to refer a young offender to DIVERSIONfirst. Once the referral has been reviewed, the program staff will follow up with the youth’s parents or guardian(s) to further assess their child’s needs and determine the supports they may require before being enrolled in the program. Should all parties wish to proceed, an Agreement meeting is arranged with DIVERSIONfirst staff and community partners.
Community partners assist with these meetings by supporting the young person and their family with accountability and agreement items that are discussed and arranged. Once the program begins, DIVERSIONfirst constables support youth to ensure their participation, help identify challenges that could arise, and engage families wherever appropriate.
When a youth is equipped with essential skills, they can utilize them to assist others and even invest in themselves. The DIVERSIONfirst program aims to hold a young person accountable for their actions while connecting them with new opportunities and better preparing them for their future. By creating informal channels to navigate youths away from traditional processing and increasing protective factors, our hope is that it reduces their involvement with the criminal justice system, and as a result, will empower them to take charge of their lives and improve their access to community resources.
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