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Understanding Colorado Juvenile Diversion Programs
 

Parents of Children under investigation or charged in the Colorado Juvenile Justice System must become familiar with the possibility of a Diversion “offer”... Below is an excerpt from an article describing the law and the process of Juvenile Diversion Programs in Colorado. (Read the full article here)

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 further involvement of the youth in the formal legal system. Some “diversion” programs provide services to diverted youth and do not function in the legal role of diverting cases from being filed. These are private... agencies that serve a broader population of juveniles in hopes of “diverting” them from further penetration into the juvenile justice system.

Services by the (private) sector include, but are not limited to, diagnostic needs assessment, restitution, community service, victim/offender mediation, job training and placement, specialized tutoring, constructive recreational activities, general counseling, counseling during a crisis situation, and follow-up activities.

Diversion of a juvenile or child may take place either at the pre-filing level as an alternative to filing of a petition pursuant to C.R.S. 19-2-512 or at the post adjudication level as an adjunct to probation services following an adjudicatory hearing pursuant to C.R.S. 19-3-505 or a disposition as a part of sentencing pursuant to C.R.S. 19-2-907.

For the pre-adjudicated youth population, juvenile diversion focuses on the diversion of non-violent and youth first appearing at the district court level from the court system and probation caseload by supporting the formal pre-file diversion processes and programs in district attorneys’ offices (or delegated to local non-profit youth service agencies) that reduce the number of cases that appear before the court; case management and services to youth who receive a deferred adjudication, informal adjustment, or an adjudication dismissed without prejudice, in coordination with probation to reduce their caseload responsibilities; and for those youth on formal probation, the provisions of accountability (restitution, community service, victim/offender mediation), competency and treatment services to lower risk-level youth to insure their successful completion of short-term probation thus preventing further penetration into the system.

For the post-adjudicated youth population, local agencies, both district attorneys’ offices and... youth serving agencies, use state juvenile diversion funded services to assist lower-risk probation youth meet the conditions of probation such as restitution and community service (as well as other competency and treatment services) that cannot be met financially by probation funds. CYDC (alternatives to detention) efforts are accessed at the higher-risk end of probation youth, those at risk of revocation due to re-offending or failing to meet more intense conditions of probation.

According to local practice and criteria, charges against the juvenile are filed by the district attorney’s office. However, based either on the prosecutor’s request or action by the court, the juvenile is offered an informal adjustment or deferred adjudication, after admission of guilt and agreement to comply with court conditions.

Although the juvenile may technically be on probation, a formal agreement from the court delegates supervision and other diversion services to either the district attorney’s juvenile diversion program or a community-based agency.

 
 

Frequently Asked Questions
 

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

 

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:

  • 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.

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

HOW do I make a referral?

Great question! If you're ready to make a referral today, simply click on the link below or copy and paste it into your browser:

http://bit.ly/13thjddiv

 

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 might be a good option for the family!

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 engagement 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

What fees are involved for a youth to participate in Diversion?

 

The core services of Diversion programs 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

**All efforts will be made to find funding sources when any of these services are identified as needed or beneficial to the youth and/or family. Possibilities include:  Medicaid, private insurance, Probation, CYDC, Human Services, Collaborative Management prevention programs, or other grant initiatives in local communities.

Where is the Diversion Program located?

 

Diversion is supervised by the 13th Judicial District Attorney's office, located in Sterling, 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 when 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.

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The Annex

121 S 4th Street

Sterling, CO 80751

Who can I contact if I have more questions?

 

Project Manager:

Rhonda Jo

Soul Grower Industries

(970)305-4638

rhonda@13thjddiv.org

Office Hours:

Monday - Friday

9:00am - 5:00pm

Mailing Address:

P.O. Box 75

Merino, CO 80741

Project Director:

Virgie Nelson

virgie@13thjddiversion.org

13th JD District Attorney

Travis Sides

tsides@13thda.com

 
Soul Growers Questions
Soul Grower Program Development Strategies
 

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."...

In January, 2021, the 13th Judicial District became the final district of Colorado's 22 JDs to launch a Diversion program for youth.

...Hey, better late than never, right?!

Many months of research have gone into this program launch, including the study of every other judicial district's efforts to serve youth through Diversion in those communities. We are so grateful for the trailblazers that have gone before so that we can benefit from their work and not reinvent the wheel.

Here are links to programs, locations, and information about Juvenile Diversion Programs in Colorado:

(click on the JD to see info)

1st Judicial District - Gilpin and Jefferson Counties

2nd Judicial District - Denver County

3rd Judicial District - Huerfano and Las Animas Counties

4th Judicial District - El Paso and Teller Counties

5th Judicial District - Clear Creek, Eagle, Lake, and Summit Counties

6th Judicial District -Archuleta, La Plata, and San Juan Counties

7th Judicial District - Delta, Gunnison, Hinsdale, Montrose, Ouray, and San Miguel Counties

8th Judicial District - Jackson and Larimer Counties

9th Judicial District - Garfield, Pitkin, and Rio Blanco Counties

10th Judicial District - Pueblo County

11th Judicial District - Chaffee, Custer, Fremont, and Park Counties

12th Judicial District - Alamosa, Conejos, Costilla, Mineral, Rio Grande, and Saguache Counties

13th Judicial District - Kit Carson, Logan, Morgan, Phillips, Sedgwick, Washington, and Yuma Counties

14th Judicial District - Grand, Moffat, and Routt Counties

 15th Judicial District - Baca, Cheyenne, Kiowa, and Prowers Counties

16th Judicial District - Bent, Crowley, and Otero Counties

17th Judicial District - Adams and Broomfield Counties

18th Judicial District - Arapahoe, Douglas, Elbert, and Lincoln Counties

19th Judicial District - Weld County


20th Judicial District - Boulder County

21st Judicial District - Mesa County

22nd Judicial District - Dolores and Montezuma Counties

 
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Evidence Based Principles for Positive Youth Development

and Positive Youth Outcomes

 

  • Intrinsic motivation

  • Enhancing protective factors

  • Responsivity to individual needs

  • Skill training & directed practice

  • Positive reinforcement to encourage growth

  • Engaging in the natural environment

  • Risk + needs assessments

  • Post & prior assessments

  • Continuous response to feedback

  • Strengths-based approach focusing on protective factors

  • Team approach: youth + parents + professionals

  • Program fidelity through quality training of staff, effective teaching materials, and valuable resources to facilitate deep practice of skills being taught

  • Multi-disciplinary approach - Coaching curriculum enlightens youth about available resources to to address needs related to physical + mental health, education, and overall well-being

  • Therapeutic relationships are encouraged

  • Transparency: observations, audits, interviews, or other means to determine program efficacy are welcome

  • Do No Harm: care is take to assure group formations will not result in harmful connections between delinquent peers

Programs are developed through extensive research, including over 200 books, training programs, courses, review of scientific studies, and hands on case studies.

Positive Youth Development Fact Sheet - CDPHE

Evidence Based Principles of Positive Youth Outcomes - CYDC

Soul Grower Resources and References
 
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