Exploring Juvenile Diversion Programs in Illinois
Parenting is hard work. You spend years of your life raising your child from a bouncing baby boy into the strapping young man he is becoming. You would like to think that he has a good moral compass and a sense of what is right and what is wrong. The last thing you want to hear is that your child has gotten himself into trouble with the law. That phone call can be devastating, but now there is one question that keeps running through your mind: what will happen to my child? Depending on what your child has done, he may be eligible to participate in a juvenile diversion program, which is one of the more favorable outcomes of a juvenile offense.What is a Diversion Program?
Juvenile diversion programs were designed as an alternative to juvenile detention. Juvenile offenders who are convicted of minor offenses can participate in diversion programs. These programs are typically community-based and smaller-scale, which make them more effective at addressing and preventing future delinquency.
The primary goal of juvenile diversion is to reduce the number of juveniles in out-of-home placements after a conviction. Each diversion program is different, but they all have the same end goal: to educate and rehabilitate the juvenile offenders in an effort to prevent future delinquency and mold them into law-abiding citizens. Juvenile diversion programs typically offer services such as:
- Education and tutorial services;
- Substance use education and counseling;
- Mental health treatment;
- Crisis intervention;
- Family counseling;
- Job skills training; and
- Recreation and organized sports programs.
There are many benefits of juvenile diversion programs, including:
- A reduced number of children serving out-of-home sentences for relatively minor offenses;
- The ability to give struggling youth the services they need;
- An increased focuses on education and rehabilitation, rather than punishment;
- Letting children gain a sense of community by letting them stay in their home environments; and
- A reduced cost, when compared to court processing and traditional detention.
It is widely known that teenagers can make poor decisions. Their brains are still developing, and many teens do not have the mental capacity to see how their actions will pan out in the future. One small mistake should not dictate the rest of your son or daughter’s childhood. If your child has been charged with a minor crime, such as retail theft or underage drinking, you should contact a Cook County juvenile crime defense attorney. At the Law Office of John S. Fotopoulos, P.C., we will fight to ensure your child receives a fair trial and push for alternative sentencing, like juvenile diversion programs, whenever possible. To schedule a free consultation, call us today at 708-942-8400.