YORK, Pa. (WHTM) — The Juvenile Office of York County Probations Services is hosting a divisionary program meant to hold youth accountable while avoiding the stigma of permanent criminal records.

Under this program, select youth facing summary and misdemeanor charges avoid entering the formal criminal justice system by being diverted to court-appointed panels made up of community members. The panel interviews the juvenile, as well as their families, and then chooses a correct course of action.

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The goal of this interview process is to address the needs of the victim, the community, and the juvenile. Like a court, the panel will assign tasks for the juvenile to complete such as a community service, letters of apology, and drug screenings.

If the juvenile completes the program successfully, they will be released from the program and no criminal record will be created and their name will be expunged from all documents related to the arrest.

The Probation Services department is seeking volunteers to help with the program. Volunteers would be needed to serve as panelists for the Divisional Program. Panels meet once a month in the evening year-round.

No special training or background is required. Volunteers must be 21 years of age or older, have no criminal record, and successfully pass Pennsylvania child abuse and FBI clearances, if applicable.

Anyone interested in being a volunteer is invited to attend a virtual informational meeting on Monday, May 9, from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. with a Q&A from 7:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. There will then be mandatory in-person training on Saturday, June 11 from 9 to 12:30 p.m.

If interested, please contact Michelle Breen, Mdbreen@yorkcountypa.gov, or Lori Petraco, lapetraco@yorkcountypa.gov. The Zoom link for the Informational Meeting will then be sent to you prior to the meeting