Restorative Programs focus on prevention and early intervention using three models: Family Intervention and Restorative Services (FIRS), Step Up, and Diversion. These models are designed to provide timely, therapeutic, and restorative support to youth and families. FIRS and Step Up focus on families experiencing family violence. Diversion typically is available for youth with limited or no prior offense history who have committed an offense. Most of these services are offered without the filing of criminal charges or formal court processing.
FAMILY INTERVENTION AND RESTORATIVE SERVICES (FIRS)
FIRS is a collaborative intervention and approach to address adolescent family violence in a timely, therapeutic, and trauma-informed alternative to formal court involvement. The goals of FIRS include: decreasing violence in the home, preventing further police contact, and increasing family safety and well-being.
The FIRS team works with families to assess risk, identify needs, complete safety planning and refer for appropriate services. Youth have the opportunity to sign out-of-court agreements in lieu of criminal charging and formal court. Many youth avoid secure detention.
THE FIRS CENTER
The FIRS Center is a unique respite facility within the Patricia Clark Children and Family Justice Center offering an alternative to secure detention for youth referred for family violence. The FIRS Center is a safe, positive, and supportive space. The FIRS Center is staffed 24/7 by Pioneer Human Services. While at the FIRS Center, youth engage in activities and discussions to empower, teach, and challenge them to take responsibility, make amends, restore family relationships, and promote positive youth development.
FIRS serves families at the Patricia Clark Child and Family Justice Center and in the community after an arrest or referral from law enforcement following an incident of family violence.
Jeremy Crowe, Restorative Programs Supervisor, (206) 477-6528, Jeremy.email@example.com or FIRS Team, (206) 263-9001.
Step-Up is an internationally recognized adolescent family violence intervention program designed to address youth violence (including threats, intimidation, property destruction, degrading language and physical violence) toward family members. The goal of Step-Up is for youth to stop violence and abuse toward their family and develop respectful family relationships so that all family members feel safe at home. Extensive information about Step-Up, including program curriculum, is available HERE.
Step-Up accepts referrals from court staff, community providers and families and facilitates both individual and group interventions at the Patricia Clark Child and Family Justice Center and in the community.
Lily Anderson, Senior Social Worker, or the Step-Up Team (206)-477-2071, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Diversion is a way of addressing an offense at the lowest level possible, allowing a youth to enter into a Diversion Agreement, which is a legal contract, that requires youth to take steps to be accountable for their actions. These can include receiving services, doing community service, or paying a victim to compensate for their financial loss.
Youth who are eligible for diversion, along with their parent or guardian, meet with a team of trained volunteers (learn more about the Partnership for Youth Justice program and the Diversion Community Accountability Board HERE) or an individual staff member to determine what goes into the Diversion Agreement. The requirements of the agreement are defined by law and guided by principles of Restorative Justice using a Positive Youth Development Model. Diversion meetings happen in the community closest to where a youth lives, with either a staff member or volunteers.
When a youth completes all requirements in the Diversion Agreement, they do not have a criminal record and no charges are filed. If a youth does not complete a Diversion Agreement or does not respond to requests to meet to establish a Diversion Agreement, Juvenile Court sends the case back to the prosecutor, at which time the prosecutor might decide to file criminal charges. The diversion process is usually quicker and less stressful than the court process. Resolving a case using the diversion process can help youth and their family access helpful services in our community. Youth who successfully complete a diversion have the added benefit of handling a criminal incident without having a criminal conviction.
Youth are referred to diversion by the Prosecuting Attorney’s Office.
Making Diversion Programs More Culturally Responsive
Jeremy Crowe, Restorative Programs Supervisor, 206-477-6528, email@example.com.