Volunteers are needed in Lancaster County to serve on Youth Aid Panels, diversionary programs for select juvenile offenders.
The District Attorney’s Office oversees the panels and 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.
Typically, Youth Aid Panel (YAP) is available in first-time summary and misdemeanor offenses – violent offenses are excluded.
YAP is not a court of law that determines guilt or innocence. There are 23 panels in Lancaster County.
Juveniles are referred to the program, by police, after a criminal charge is filed.
“The best crime statistic is the one that does not exist because someone reached a would-be offender ahead of time,” District Attorney Craig Stedman said. “Youth Aid Panels have a proven record of holding juveniles accountable for their conduct, as well as dramatically reducing the chances of recidivism.”
The juveniles’ parent(s) are involved in the process, and there is an option to leave the program at any time and proceed through the traditional juvenile court process.
The panels consist of volunteers who are concerned with their community and youth, so those are the ideal candidates to serve.
To serve on panel, a volunteer must complete mandatory training on criminal-justice topics such as police interaction with youth, interview and counseling techniques, and the impact of addiction.
Generally, panels meet once a month for approximately three to four hours to hear cases of the referred juveniles.
Anyone interested in being a volunteer, please contact Sarah Fritz, Community Outreach Coordinator for District Attorney Craig Stedman, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 717-390-7789.
Areas most in need of volunteers are covered by:
- Lancaster city police
- East Lampeter Township police
- Columbia Borough police
- West Lampeter Township police
- Manor Township police
- Lititz Borough police
- New Holland Police Department
MEDIA CONTACT: Brett A. Hambright, 717-295-2041; email@example.com; Twitter: @BrettHambright