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CYS Preparing Other CBOs To Do Diversion

Not long after a conference in Washington D.C. at which CYS Executive Director Jessica Ellis spoke, CYS was contacted by administrators from the Stanislaus County (CA) Probation Department (Stanislaus) who were eager to replicate CYS methods and successes for the youth and families in this Northern California county.

CYS welcomes the opportunity to help other organizations create youth diversion programs, but the agency’s first recommendation was for Stanislaus to seek a partnership with a community-based organization (CBO) already engaged in youth development work and one with a case management system in place, rather than run a program of their own.

Experience has shown that a program situation in a Probation Department (which can be perceived as an arm of the law), will discourage the openness of participants required for meaningful restorative justice restitutions.

Within the year, Stanislaus County selected a CBO called Sierra Vista Cares, who were eager to begin providing restorative justice conferences within their community. Since the spring of 2020, CYS has been engaged in training Sierra Vista Cares in all aspects of creating a successful diversion program for youth.

The trainings cover a range of vital topics. As CYS Lead Training Manager, Whitney Aguilar notes, “We are focused on building an organization’s internal capacity to do restorative justice diversion to meet their community’s needs. This includes defining diversion as an interruption of traditional legal processes, establishing criteria for diversion, ensuring equity protections for referred parties, facilitating restorative justice conferences, managing program data, and more!”

CYS’s Sierra Vista Cares training has included coaching and case-consultation. If you are interested in learning more about CYS CBO trainings, please contact Whitney Aguilar at [email protected].


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