Juveniles who are at risk or are being raised in homes where structure and discipline are lacking are often at a significantly higher risk of becoming involved in criminal behavior in West Virginia. Prevention of offensive behavior often requires an intervention that is customized to a point that allows at-risk youth to feel valued and understood. While there are many forms of intervention, it is imperative that professionals assess the best method for treating juveniles with differing needs for the most successful output.
One method of intervention is called a diversion program. These programs can have a pointed focus, but often contain a variety of aspects that are designed to provide youth with educational opportunities, friendship, support and the chance to network within the community. In addition to providing services on an individual level, many diversion programs may provide support for the entire family.
According to youth.gov, these programs are often implemented at the earliest stage of a juvenile’s experience in the justice system. Educators and other professionals discuss delinquent behavior and address different methods for treating youth and helping them avoid further involvement in offensive behavior. Diversion programs provide a variety of different services including skills training for jobs or apprenticeships, crisis intervention, academic tutoring, recreational opportunities, relationship-building courses, service opportunities and mental health services among other things.
Youth.gov suggests there are two types of delinquents including those that are antisocial from a very young age and those that encounter social problems when they enter into adolescence. Diversion programs can prevent these hazards from becoming a risk factor if they are used soon enough in a juvenile’s life.