Youth Diversion and Development
YDD Youth Fellows
Recommendations for Breaking Barriers to Enrollment
In November 2017, the division of Youth Diversion and Development (YDD) was established within the Office of Diversion and Reentry. This division is focused on advancing youth development infrastructure in Los Angeles County and implementing an evidence-informed model of pre-booking youth diversion that empowers community-based organizations as the providers of individualized care coordination in lieu of arrest with the goal of equitably reducing young people’s involvement with the justice system.
In 2020, YDD and the Chief Executive Office launched the County’s Youth Justice Work Group, a collaborative planning process facilitated by a Consultant Team led by the W. Haywood Burns Institute that has been tasked with exploring the feasibility of transitioning Los Angeles County’s youth justice system out of the Probation Department and designing a transformed model that would achieve meaningfully different outcomes than the current system. For more information about the Youth Justice Work Group’s efforts and recommendations, visit https://lacyouthjustice.org.
If you would like to know more about Los Angeles County’s Youth Diversion and Development model, please contact the Director of YDD, Refugio Valle at RValle3@dhs.lacounty.gov
This document synthesizes the information presented in the full-length “Roadmap for Advancing Youth Diversion in Los Angeles County.” Informed by the data and evidence summarized in this document, the YDD model will build infrastructure needed to ensure that all youth in Los Angeles County can connect with a continuum of services that address their needs, reducing youth arrests and equitably improving outcomes for youth and communities.
In January 2017, the Board of Supervisors established an ad-hoc Youth Diversion Subcommittee of the Countywide Criminal Justice Coordination Committee tasked with developing a plan to coordinate and scale effective youth diversion in Los Angeles County. This collaborative subcommittee met 16 times between March and September 2017 to review data and evidence; listen to perspectives of youth, law enforcement, and community organizations; and develop recommendations for core components and a plan for scaling effective youth diversion practices across the County. This document summarizes the Subcommittee’s work and led to the launch of YDD.
In 2018, YDD held our first annual Youth Development Summit at the Carson Community Center. Approximately 350 attendees participated in this day of learning and networking to build shared understanding about the YDD model and goals as well as opportunities to build capacity and prepare for implementation. Attendees included leadership from law enforcement agencies, community-based providers, county agencies, community advocates, researchers, and artists interested in this work.
In 2019, YDD held our second annual Youth Development Summit. Over 300 attendees participated in this two-day event of panels, workshops, and opportunities for dialogue. Youth leaders helped design and facilitate the event and attendees included county agencies, community-based providers, law enforcement agencies, advocates, researchers, and artists.
In late 2018, Human Impact Partners worked with YDD to develop a Health Equity Case Study that chronicled the planning and early launch of the division of Youth Diversion and Development.
In 2019, Human Impact Partners worked closely with YDD and a group of incredible providers and advocates in Los Angeles County to develop “Advancing Racial Equity in Youth Diversion: An Evaluation Framework Informed by Los Angeles County.” We are so proud of this work and plan to use it to continue to hold us accountable to equity at every stage.
Over the first year of YDD’s implementation, our consultant from New America’s Public Interest Technology team worked to synthesize the values and decisions developed by our Steering Committee’s Data Workgroup. This document reflects YDD’s ongoing commitments to using data intelligently, responsibly, and collaboratively.
Over the past year, the Vera Institute of Justice has been partnering with YDD to explore gaps in YDD capacity for young people in child welfare placements. Following extensive conversations with YDD and YDD providers, this toolkit was developed to offer YDD providers best practice tips and recommendations on how to best support young people living in group homes while receiving diversion services. The goal is to support YDD providers in your efforts to prevent deeper system involvement from happening.
The toolkit opens with background and historical information on the ways in which young people with child welfare involvement are particularly vulnerable to further legal system entrenchment and then moves into several sections of recommendations for providers to consider. The first section is focused on tips and best practice approaches to supporting young people in navigating group home placements and supporting their self-determination and advocacy. The second section is focused on strategies for increasing participation and success of young people in group home placements, including partnering with law enforcement, moving through the screening and intake process, partnering with child welfare, and reporting to the courts. The document is intended to be practical and useful – you can dive into any section if something relevant emerges. If you have any questions or want to learn more, please feel free to reach out to Hannah Green at the Vera Institute of Justice (firstname.lastname@example.org)