Platte County offers two diversion programs. Juvenile diversion is offered through Platte County juvenile services and the adult diversion program is offered through Platte County. The juvenile diversion program has no affiliation with the adult diversion program.

The Platte Valley juvenile diversion program provides an alternative program for youth who have committed a low-level law violation. This program allows youth ages 11-17 to avoid the juvenile justice court system and yet be held accountable for their actions. The juvenile diversion program requires a youth to meet the requirements of the program contract and avoid any further involvement with the law. The program requires each youth and his or her parents to attend the appropriate classes (Why Try Decision Making Class, Substance Abuse Awareness Class and the Parenting Class). The youth must complete a minimum of 25 hours of community service and write an essay pertaining to the charge they received and how this charge could affect their future goals. The program was developed to help youth learn to make good choices and understand all aspects of their life that are affected by the decisions they make.

Juvenile services provides additional programs in the community to help these youth in areas of education, positive relationships, character and skill-building, anti-gang awareness, the Summer Parks Enrichment Program, activity scholarships, mental health and family support.

The diversion program and additional services are funded by Platte County and through grants from the Nebraska Crime Commission, United Way Impact and Go Play. Thanks to this funding the youth in Platte County have the opportunity to learn from the supporting citizens and become a positive part of this community. Throughout the 16 years the diversion program has been established, Platte County youth have had the opportunity to benefit from the available support systems that have become positive change factors assisting youth in making better choices.

The juvenile diversion program helps eligible youth who have made a poor decision understand the consequences for their actions. Research has shown that even great kids make poor choices. Diversion was set up to provide an alternative to court. Platte County’s data shows that 70 percent of our youth do not reoffend. Through this program the youth and their family work together to overcome their obstacle and move forward in a more positive direction.

The programs funded by the county and grant money include:

The diversion program; school-based 40 Developmental Assets Program for fifth- through seventh-graders, positive relationship program; Youth for Christ out-of-school suspension program; Youth for Christ Upward Movement Program, school-based anti-gang program; Triumph Builders Club, character-building for young men/graffiti patrol; Time for Change, anti-gang coalition/youth scholarship program/summer park enrichment program; assessment program; attendance monitor program; supervised community service.

The juvenile diversion program services an average of 150 youth each year. This is accomplished with a minimal staff of one full-time administrator and three part-time diversion officers. We are dedicated to helping and supporting the youth and their families in Platte County.

To learn more about the Platte Valley diversion program, go to http://www.plattecounty.net/webpages/juvenile/juvenile.html.

Teri Schuller is program administrator for the Platte Valley diversion program/juvenile services. She can be reached at 402-563-4965 or teri.pvdpjs@plattene.us.

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