CYS operates innovative programs that are proven to increase student performance, reduce school dropout rates, help preserve families, reduce gang involvement, youth violence and crime.
CYS programs are client-centered to serve vulnerable youth and are nationally recognized, innovative and evidence-based. At the heart of all CYS services are nearly 100 volunteer mediators who have completed over 35 hours of high-quality training and certification.
Since 1992, CYS has provided a unique combination of family and victim/offender mediation, restitution and conflict resolution services that have established it as a nationally recognized leader in Restorative Justice programs in which juvenile offenders mediate with their victims to repair the harm caused by criminal behavior and in which victims and the community are active participants in the restorative process. CYS practices and programs reflect restorative purposes that respond to crime by 1) identifying and taking steps to repair harm, 2) involving all stakeholders, and 3) transforming the traditional relationship between communities and government in response to crime.
CYS works in partnership with a variety of community and government agencies including South Bay One-Stop Business & Career Centers, five school districts, L.A. County Probation Department, L.A. County Juvenile Courts, four law enforcement agencies, the Department of Children and Family Services and numerous faith-based and community-based agencies to help create safe communities and safe schools that promote learning and positive youth development.
Restorative Justice Programs
Victim Offender Restitution Program
The Victim Offender Restitution Program (VORS) gives youth offenders the opportunity to learn the harm they have caused, ‘make right’ their wrongs and become accountable for their actions. The program also works to provide, financial and psychological restitution for victims and relief for the overloaded Juvenile Justice system. Developed under the auspices of a Collaboration Team headed by the Presiding Judge, Victim Offender Restitution receives referrals from throughout LA County via Probation and law enforcement. Mediations facilitated by trained community volunteers are held between offenders and their victims who include private citizens, homeowners, teachers, local city governments, businesses and other children. Crimes include vandalism, theft, assault, shoplifting and other non weapon crimes.
In Victim Offender Restitution mediations, offenders learn the harm they have caused and have an opportunity to reach an agreement to make restitution. Since 1992, 98% of the more than 4000 Victim Offender Restitution program mediations have reached agreements resulting in over $700,000 in restitution to victims, over 20,000 hours of community service performed and 3,920 letters of apology written by the youth offenders to their victim.
Family Mediation Program
The Family Mediation Program (FARS) provides mediations for youth who are in severe conflict with their family. After an initial session of problem identification from both the parent and child view point, trained mediators help families craft written agreements on issues. 95% of participants return for a second mediation and when surveyed 3 to 6 months later, using an instrument developed by UCLA/RAND for CYS, over 70% reported reduced family conflict and increased communication skills. Over 85% reported no further contact with authorities regarding conflict. These encouraging results demonstrate that families in severe conflict when engaged in parent/child mediation are able to establish new behavior patterns. The goal of Family Mediation is to assist family members so that they can resolve their own conflict through enhanced communication skills.
Restorative Circles and Mediation Office Hours
Restorative Circles and Mediation Office Hours programs are offered to participating middle schools and high schools. These programs address fighting, bullying, and other behavioral issues by mediating disputes and introducing conflict resolution, anger management, and effective communication skills. As a result, campus and classroom tensions are reduced and classroom environments are improved.
Counseling and Resource Services (CARS)
Counseling and Resource Services (CARS) Professional mental counseling is indicated when the conflict is principally inside the individual. For 34 years, CYS has referred and funded youth for counseling services from professional therapist. The CARS program helps teens and pre-teens deal with complex emotional issues by providing mental health or substance abuse treatment, as needed. Counseling referrals come from parents, school counselors and law enforcement personnel. CYS has on-going contracts with counseling professionals who specialize in serving at-risk youth.
Everychild Restorative Justice Center
In the spring of 2012 CYS opened the Everychild Restorative Justice Center to divert vulnerable, high-risk youth from the juvenile justice system into community-based, developmental services and supports so that youth break the cycle of delinquent and criminal behavior and activity. Located near the Inglewood Court, the Center will target communities with high rates of crime and poverty within the Court jurisdiction in the cities of Inglewood, Hawthorne, Lawndale, Gardena; the unincorporated areas of Lennox and West Athens and adjacent communities in south central Los Angeles. The Center will utilize restorative justice principles to integrate evidence-based victim offender and family mediation services linked to intensive case management, legal and education rights advocacy and wrap-around youth development services provided in-kind by a variety of community-based agencies. CYS will open a second Restorative Justice Center in the summer of 2013 in south Los Angeles serving youth referred from the 77th and Southeast LAPD divisions in the Kenyon Juvenile Justice Center Court jurisdiction.
These Services Are Made Possible in Part Through Support from the Los Angeles County Department of Consumer and Business Affairs and the California Dispute Resolution Programs Act.