What's happening in and around Phoenixville, PA.

Monday, August 31, 2009

Calling all Community Service Providers

The Youth Aid Panel in Phoenixville is seeking community service providers to assist them with their program. Specifically, they are looking for local groups who can offer youths a chance to volunteer their time in order to meet the requirements of the program.

About the Youth Aid Panel:

The Youth Aid Panel Program helps neighborhoods deal effectively with first time youth offenders. A panel of local community volunteers meets with the youth and his/her family to discuss the offense. The panels hold the youth accountable for their actions by requiring community service, educational programs, and specific restitution.
How It Works:

1. Referral. The police department offers the young offender the opportunity to go before the panel instead of heading to court. The referrals are summary or minor misdemeanor offenses such as curfew violations, underage drinking, or retail theft. In order to participate, the person must admit involvement in the offense and agree to meet with the panel.

2. The Panel Session. The panel meets with the family and the youth together. The session is a voluntary and confidential process that can be stopped at any time. If the offense involves a victim, the victim is invited to meet privately with the panel to discuss the offense and their input may help the panel form the resolution.

3. The Resolution Contract. The panel does not decide guilt or innocence. The panel develops a program of community service, educational activities, or other forms of paying back to the community. Restitution (if needed) is handed by the local Police Department and not the panel. Each resolution is customized to the offense and abilities of the individual. The youth contracts with the panel to complete the resolution.

4. Completion. When the resolution is completed, the panel and the youth meet again to discuss his/her experience and the panel will recommend that no criminal record be kept about the offense. If for any reason the youth fails to complete the resolution or commits another offense, the case is returned to the police department.

If you are interested in assisting this very worthwhile cause, please contact Luann Roth at luannroth@ymail.com.

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