We at AHM are so proud of our Juvenile Review Board which serves as a template across the state for similar programs. Begun 20 years ago, the purpose of the JRB is to divert youth from the juvenile court system. Research has documented that such diversions can help to enable youth to stay out of the juvenile court system and have potentially brighter futures than they otherwise would.
The Board consists of AHM social workers, school administrators, Resident State Troopers, probation officers, a juvenile prosecutor, a representative from DCF and a representative from The Family Support Center. This highly dedicated group of people, who represent a variety of disciplines, are able to assist youth and their families during difficult times.
Youth referred to the Board must be under 18, accept responsibility for their actions, have no previous court or police involvement and not have committed a felony. There are three ways that a youth can be referred to the Juvenile Review Board:
- A police officer may decide to divert someone rather than sending him/her to Juvenile Court
- The school can refer a student for consistent defiance of school rules or truancy
- Parents can refer their child for being out of control
Each youth has a case manager (an AHM school social worker) who supports the family throughout the process, starting with obtaining a thorough social/emotional/educational history of the young person. Families appear before the Board and diversions are assigned that the youth must complete. The diversions might include counseling, community service, improving grades, writing an essay, a drug assessment, improved behavior at school and/or at home. the purpose of these diversions is to help the youth learn how to make better decisions. The intent of this process is not punitive, but educational. Over the year, the AHM Juvenile Review Board has produced a success rate of 90%.
If you would like further information regarding the Juvenile Review Board process, please contact the AHM office at 860-228-9488.