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 Colorado's 13th Judicial District Youth Diversion Program

Diversion is defined in the Colorado Children’s Code (§19-1-103(44), C.R.S.) as “a decision made by a person with authority or a delegate of that person in which the result is that a specific official action of the legal system is not taken against the youth in lieu of participating in individually designed services provided by a specific program."...

The goal is to prevent youth from becoming involved (or more deeply involved) in the formal legal system.


Juvenile Diversion becomes an opportunity for youth to learn from their mistakes, while also receiving an alternative to having the full extent of Court involvement to learn said lessons. Diversion can make it possible for youth to avoid a negative juvenile court record, even though some of their choices have included criminal behavior. Juvenile Diversion programs are based on the premise that many youth are harmed more than they are helped by becoming involved with the traditional juvenile justice system. 


Referring Young People to Diversion

The Diversion program can help youth and families throughout the 7 county 13th Judicial District in northeastern Colorado.

This includes Kit Carson, Logan, Morgan, Phillips, Sedgwick, Washington and Yuma counties.  

Some concerns or situations that Diversion could help with:

Criminal Behavior

Truancy/School Attendance

Substance Use

Minor in Possession

Anger Management/Fighting


Unhealthy Choices (sexting, internet use)

Behavior Concerns

Family Conflict

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District, County, and Municipal Courts and the District Attorney's Office

Youth Diversion Programs throughout the country focus on finding alternative interventions for youth who are referred to the justice system for minor delinquent behavior. The standards define “minor delinquent behavior” as “conduct that does not rise to the level of significant or repeated harm to others, significant or repeated property loss or damage, or a threat of significant harm to others.”

With Diversion, Officers of the Court in the 13th Judicial District now have a supportive option that will educate young people rather than punish them.

Click here to make a referral now!

Click here for Smartphone Instructions

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School Administrators, Deans of Students, and

School Counselors

The professionals who work with kids on a daily basis are often the ones who first notice when something isn’t quite right.  By referring kids from schools to Diversion, we can often help them before the issues they’re facing escalate.


Substance Use


are a few examples of concerns for which school officials may choose to refer a student to Diversion.

Click here to make a referral now!

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Law Enforcement Officers

Our local police and sheriff departments do an amazing job with kids.  Sometimes officers let a young person off with a warning when they’ve done something they shouldn’t be doing because they don’t want to see a “good kid” enter the court system.  

Diversion provides an intervention option that is not punitive. Rather, kids are given the opportunity to learn from their mistakes.

Police officers are encouraged to make direct referrals to Diversion when youth are on the radar for such behavior.

Some examples include:

Substance Use

Minor in Possession

Anger Management/Fighting

Curfew Violations



Click here to make a referral now!

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Probation Officers and CYDC Case Managers

Probation officers and CYDC case managers in the 13th Judicial District are encouraged to refer youth for Diversion services. As the program evolves, the intention is to reach youth BEFORE their behavior escalates to the point of being on your case load. But, as we integrate these services into our work - youth may benefit greatly from the Diversion program, even though court involvement is already part of the deal.

Click here to make a referral now!

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Child Welfare Professionals

Crossover youth (involved in both the child welfare and the juvenile justice systems), are at the very top of the list of kids that we all worry about. Over the past decade, a tremendous amount of work has been done to understand how to best help youth avoid this situation, including finding alternatives to juvenile justice referrals from the child welfare system.

The Diversion program could be a great option when youth in foster care or other youth who end up on the radar within the child welfare system engage in low-level crimes or status offenses such as:


Youth in Conflict

Substance Use

Curfew Violations

Unhealthy Behaviors

Click here to make a referral now!



Diversion Services

You might be asking yourself, “What exactly does Diversion do?  What kind of help does Diversion provide?”  


Diversion services include:


Needs Assessment

Referrals for treatment and other relevant services

Service Coordination

90-Day Coaching program

1 - Needs Assessment

When youth are referred to Diversion, the first thing that happens is a conversation. This is a strengths based, family-driven process during which the purpose is to get to know this kid and understand what's going on, what they've already got going for them, and then identify ways that Diversion can HELP.

*The Arizona Needs/Risk Assessment is included in this process, as well as components of the BSTAD screening tool.

2 - Referrals, Resources and Service Coordination

When youth would benefit from multi-system service coordination, a wraparound model will be implemented to provide an individualized approach. Service providers, natural supports and the youth and family work together to help achieve the family goals. This process includes utilization of an appropriate multi-system release of information and follow up services to ensure engagement with the service plan.

3 - Youth Contract

Once service providers are identified, the youth will agree to their Diversion Contract.


The Youth Diversion Contract may include different combinations of the following:


School requirements
Direct Supervision (Probation or CYDC)
Useful Public Service (U.P.S.)
Restitution to victims of offense
Letters of apology
Alcohol/Drug evaluation and treatment
Drug or alcohol testing

4 - 90 Day Coaching Program

All youth who are enrolled in Diversion will be guided through a crash course in self-development that will lead to greater self-awareness and purpose-driven decision making. This process includes access to education programs through an online portal where daily lessons are given through videos and interactive activities that help youth internalize the principles and apply what they are learning to their current life situation. Youth also engage in weekly coaching calls and periodic check-ins throughout the program.

Coaching is geared to help youth maximize the life lessons available to them through to the incident that led to their referral.

Key concepts taught include:



Core Values

Decision-Making Skills

Goal Achievement

Cognitive Behavioral Skills

Avoiding Harmful Behaviors

and Resilience

Click here to learn more about the coaching program! 

5 - Graduation!

"The more you praise and celebrate your life, the more there is to celebrate."  Oprah Winfrey

When youth complete the program, their achievements are celebrated big time!  The specifics of this will be determined in part by the youth and family, but will always include a $50 gift card and diploma.

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Frequently Asked Questions

What are the eligibility requirements to refer a youth to Diversion?

Youth-serving professionals in the 13th JD are encouraged to refer youth for a variety of concerns. These guidelines may be helpful in making recommendations for youth to receive services from Diversion:

  • Youth resides (or was charged) in the 7-county 13th Judicial District (Kit Carson, Logan, Morgan, Phillips, Sedgwick, Washington, Yuma)
  • Youth is between 10 and 18 years old (exceptions can be made)
  • Youth and parents voluntarily agree to participate in the program
  • Youth is willing to show remorse and/or admission of guilt if criminal behavior is involved
  • Youth is willing to enter into the Diversion contract and comply with agreements made
  • Diversion services are appropriate for the level of intervention required to meet the physical, mental, developmental and emotional health needs of the youth.
You do NOT need to know if the youth meets these criteria BEFORE the referral is made. Eligibility is determined during the screening process. Youth who do not meet the eligibility requirements will still benefit from referrals to alternative resources in the community. Click here to make a referral now!

What are the terms & conditions of the Diversion contract?

The Diversion contract is customized to each youth and the circumstances involved with their referral. Some components of the contract are standard for all youth, including:

  • No new criminal offenses
  • No drug or alcohol use
  • School attendance and/or employment
  • Coaching Program
Additional components of the contract that may or may not be included on a case by case basis, in a variety of combinations, include but are not limited to:
  • Letter of Apology
  • Useful Public Service
  • Restitution
  • Drug Testing
  • Individual Counseling or Therapy
  • Family Counseling
  • Employment
  • School Plan for Attendance & Success
  • Status Meetings
Click here to make a referral today!

What fees are involved for Diversion services? How much does it cost?

Mostly, Diversion is FREE. The core services of Diversion are fully funded by the 13th Judicial District through Colorado Department of Criminal Justice funding.
Fully Funded Services (FREE to youth, family):

  • Screening
  • Resources and Referrals
  • 90-Day Coaching Program
Some services that are identified as beneficial during the intake/screening process may require fees. When fees are required with no funding source, those services will be recommendations only and NOT included in the contract.
Services that may require a funding source:
  • Counseling
  • Therapy
  • Drug Tests
  • Drug Treatment Program
  • Extended or Alternative Education Programs

Every effort will be made to find funding sources when any of these services are identified as needed or beneficial to the youth and/or family. Possible funding sources include: Medicaid, Private Insurance, Probation, CYDC, Human Services, Collaborative Management prevention programs, or other grant initiatives in our local communities. The family can choose to pay for any alternative services if they are able. Click here to make a referral today!

Where is the Diversion program located?

Diversion is supervised by the 13th Judicial District Attorney's office, located in Sterling and Fort Morgan, Colorado. The program is currently managed by Soul Grower Industries, located in Merino, Colorado. In-person meetings with youth, families, and/or service providers are held at a mutually agreed upon location, or by Zoom. Many meetings and training programs are held at The Annex, next to the Logan County Courthouse in Sterling, Colorado.
Meetings with Youth & Families

  • Meetings and coaching sessions take place at a mutually agreed upon location
  • Zoom will be utilized for most coaching calls and check-in meetings
  • Intake screenings and graduation ceremonies will be IN PERSON whenever possible
ISST Meetings
  • When relevant, Individual Service and Support Team meetings will be held after the screening of a youth into Diversion
  • Location will be determined on a case by case basis
  • Service providers will have the option to attend in person or by Zoom
  • Youth and family will be IN PERSON when possible
Youth-Serving Stakeholder Meetings
  • Diversion will become an integral part of the youth-serving network of service providers that currently exist throughout the 13th Judicial District.

  • Efforts to unite with local Collaborative Management Programs and the Juvenile Services Planning Commission are underway

  • Some invitations will be extended for Diversion-specific stakeholder planning and/or training sessions. These will most often be held at The Annex, next to the Logan County Courthouse.

The Annex 121 S. 4th Street Sterling, CO 80741 Click here to make a referral today!

Who can I contact if I have more questions?

Program Manager Rhonda Jo (970)305-4638 Office Hours: Monday - Friday 9:00am - 5:00pm Mailing Address: P.O. Box 75 Merino, CO 80741 Project Director Virgie Nelson 13th JD District Attorney Travis Sides Click here to make a referral today!

Who can make a referral?

Youth-serving professionals in the 13th JD are encouraged to refer youth.
Examples of youth-serving professionals:

  • The District Attorney and DA office staff
  • District and County Court Judges
  • Municipal Court Judges
  • Youth Services administrators at municipal or county courts
  • Probation Officers
  • CYDC Case Managers
  • Police Officers
  • Sheriffs and Deputies
  • School Administrators (principals, deans of students, school counselors)
  • Child Welfare/Human Services Professionals
  • Counselors and Therapists
Click here to make a referral today!

How do I make a referral?

Great question! If you're ready to make a referral today, simply click this link and get started: 13th JD Youth Diversion Referral Form Information you will need:

  • Youth name, DOB, contact info
  • Parent contact info
  • Basic details about reasons for the referral
We will follow up to fill in the gaps for additional and unkown information that the referral form may ask about. So don't hesitate to get the process started by connecting youth and families with Diversion if you think it could be helpful! Click here to make a referral today!

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Contact Us

Program Manager:

Rhonda Jo


P.O. Box 75

Merino, CO 80741

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Got it! We'll be in touch soon!