Referrals & Limitations

Generally, youthful offenders are referred to the local district justice or to the juvenile court system for disposition. The YAP is a diversion program that creates the option for a juvenile offender to stay within their own community to resolve their wrong doing. The program is voluntary and the youth must admit to the offense to be eligible for referral. Both the parent and the youth need to agree to be in the program.

The panel is not a court of law and does not determine guilt or innocence. Guilt is admitted by the juvenile. The youth and parents must agree to guilt and accept the Youth Aid Panel as an alternative to resolving the problems. At any time during the panel process, the youth or his/her parents may choose to dismiss themselves from the program and enter into the juvenile court system. Due process protection is a high priority.