Twenty-four Lancaster County residents officially became members Monday of Youth Aid Panels in their respective communities.
The two dozen volunteers were honored as certified members at a graduation ceremony at the Lancaster County Courthouse.
The volunteers, in recent weeks, completed training on criminal-justice topics such as police interaction with youth, interview and counseling techniques, and the impact of addiction.
It is believed to the largest class of graduates for the Lancaster County Youth Aid Program, which is overseen by District Attorney Craig Stedman’s office.
District Attorney Stedman offered congratulations Monday and thanked the volunteers for their commitment and service.
“This group should be applauded for their generous commitment of time, and acting on concerns that young members of their communities grow through this process while being held accountable for their actions,” District Attorney Stedman said after the ceremony. “Youth Aid Panel can have crucial impact on a juvenile’s development and path.”
Police officers also serve alongside volunteers who assess the juvenile offenders and their cases, and determine program requirements and conditions for those accepted. The panel will then monitor the juvenile’s progression.
Youth Aid Panel is not a court of law that determines guilt or innocence. There are 23 panels in Lancaster County.
Typically, Youth Aid Panel is available in first-time summary and misdemeanor offenses – violent offenses are excluded.
Juveniles are referred to the program, by police, after a criminal incident has occurred and the juvenile and a guardian are in agreement with a YAP referral.
MEDIA CONTACT: Brett A. Hambright, 717-295-2041; firstname.lastname@example.org; Twitter: @BrettHambright