January 2021 the youth diversion program, Bridgeways for Youth, was successfully implemented. This is a voluntary youth diversion program that allows youth the opportunity to participate in short-term case management and educational programs as an alternative to receiving citations. Referrals to Bridgeways for Youth come from law enforcement under predetermined offenses. If a youth does not complete their program then the original charge(s) are submitted to Youth Justice.
Referred youth participate in an intake and assessment to determine youth’s needs. The youth is assigned intervention evidenced-based education coursework based on their violation(s) through an online education program. Depending on each youth’s needs, the youth is connected to community resources such as mental health or substance use therapy. Participation in the Bridgeways for Youth program is typically 3 months, but can be extended depending on the youth’s needs.
In 2021 law enforcement referred 82 youth with 77 youth accepted and engaged in programing. Only 15 of those 77 youth did not successfully complete the Bridgeways for Youth program. Additionally, there are 15 youth referred in 2021 that are still currently enrolled in Bridgeways for Youth.
One of the youths enrolled in the program was actively using methamphetamine. His family had also kicked him out of the home. Since participating in the Bridgeways for Youth program this youth has obtained stable housing, employment, and is completing his senior year of high school. He has also been connected with Comprehensive Community Services and a treatment provider though DHHS. In addition to his other successes, this youth continues to maintain his abstinence from methamphetamine