Nine volunteers became members of Youth Aid Panels this week and will begin serving alongside law enforcement in three Lancaster County communities.
The volunteers were honored as certified members at a graduation ceremony Tuesday at the Lancaster County Courthouse.
There are over 100 volunteers serving on the 23 Youth Aid Panels across the county.
District Attorney Craig Stedman’s office oversees Youth Aid Panels, which are diversionary programs for juvenile offenders charged with non-violent offenses.
Police and volunteers assess the juvenile offenders and their cases, and determine program requirements and conditions for those accepted. The panel then monitors the juvenile’s progression.
On Tuesday, District Attorney Stedman congratulated the volunteers as they received their certificates.
Stedman told the volunteers the results of their work might not be visible right away.
“So I am thanking you now and telling you how important it is,” Stedman told the group.
Youth Aid Panel is not a court of law that determines guilt or innocence.
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 Youth Aid Panel referral.
The latest class of 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.
They will serve on panels in Lancaster Township, Manor Township, and the Ephrata area.
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