An Orange County-based nonprofit received a $1 million Youth Reinvestment Grant through a neighboring city and will partner with local police departments to provide juvenile diversion programs.
Costa Mesa City Council approved the grant on Feb. 18 and directed that the funds be administered through a partnership between Waymakers and six police departments, including Newport Beach, according to a Costa Mesa Police Department press release.
They are honored to be part of the program, Executive Director of Waymakers Ronnetta Johnson said in a statement.
“(The grant) allows us to offer diversion services to young people providing consequence for their actions and a way for deeper issues to be brought to light for intervention,” Johnson said. “We have an opportunity to truly impact youth and families at the diversion level to keep at-risk and low-risk youth from entering the formal juvenile justice system and causing further harm.”
Waymakers aims to build safer communities by helping individuals make their way through conflict and crisis to a place of strength and stability.
The organization has a 46-year history of working with law enforcement agencies in Orange County, the CMPD statement explains.
According to information received from the organization, the objectives of the grant include reducing recidivism rates of juvenile offenders, strengthening protective family factors, limiting the impact of juvenile offenses in the community, helping victims heal, repairing harm to the community and easing administrative duties of the court system and police departments.
Police departments in La Habra, Orange, Tustin, and Westminster, will also benefit from the partnership.
According to Waymakers, research indicates that prevention and intervention with services such as the Juvenile Diversion program prevents future criminal or delinquent activity in the community. Low-risk youth served at the informal level have lower rates of recidivism than low-risk youth handled in the formal system.
Waymakers’ Juvenile Diversion Program offers practical, individualized, and cost-effective early intervention, restorative justice activity components such as individual and family counseling, case management, victim-offender mediation, peer court, community service and restitution, career and education support, legal awareness, practical parenting skills, drug and alcohol awareness, anger management, service learning projects, truancy reduction, social skills, decision making, and 24-hour help lines and specialized services linkage.
The program is an alternative to the juvenile justice system and gives youth the opportunity they need to get back on track and make things right. The overall goal of diversion programs is to reduce reoffending or the occurrence of problem behaviors without having to formally process youth in the justice system.
The funds allocated for the YRG come from the State of California Board of State and Community and Corrections, and will be used to service the Orange County Central Area.
The 44-month grant will be provided through February 2023.
For more information, visit waymakersoc.org.