2011 GRANT RECIPIENT
Centinela Youth Services – Everychild Restorative Justice Center
Centinela Youth Services, Inc. has been named the recipient of the $1 million 2011 Everychild Foundation Grant. The funds will launch and sustain a restorative justice center across the street from three Los Angeles Juvenile Courts over a three-year period. Specifically, the grant will be used to create and operate the center, including the funding of dedicated staff and partner agencies for services provided at the center. Everychild’s grant will provide the remaining 60 percent of the $1.6 million total program cost.
The center will be named the Everychild Restorative Justice Center (ECRJC). The ECRJC will operate under the principals of restorative justice, a framework that engages victims, offenders, families and the community in repairing the harm caused by crime. This framework has proven effective in reducing recidivism and has been show to improve school attendance and decrease drug use, truancy and school suspensions. “The primary goal of the program,” said Jacqueline Caster, Everychild
President, “is to keep teens from being incarcerated or ending up at a juvenile detention camp where, sadly, outcomes are dismal.” The ECRJC will focus on 1200 vulnerable, high-risk minority teens by diverting them from the juvenile justice system into the center’s programs. The programs provided will include mediation between teen offenders, their victims, and their family members; family counseling to open and reach agreement on improved behavior at school and a more
cooperative home environment; educational assistance to encourage teens to reenroll in school; employment services; and referrals to mental health providers. Referrals to the program will be divided into two tiers. Tier I will include 750 teens referred by schools and local police for offenses such as truancy, runaway, defiance and curfew violations. Those teens agreeing to enter the program will be required to complete assigned services in lieu of school detention, suspension or fines to parents. Tier II will include 450 teens – both first and second time offenders – referred by the courts, the District Attorney, and the Probation Department for more serious misdemeanor offenses such as petty theft, vandalism, and assault. These teens will be placed under the supervision of a probation officer and assigned to receive services prior to trial. Services will be provided as long as the teens participate as scheduled, complete required activities, and do not re-offend or are not re-arrested during program participation. Upon satisfactory completion of services provided by the program, charges may be dropped or cases dismissed, records may be sealed, and fees and penalties may be waved. Senior judges in Los Angeles are committed to replicating ECJRC in other LA County Juvenile courts.