Youth Courts: Technical Assistance
In addition to implementing and operating seven youth courts, Center for Court Innovation regularly provides information and technical assistance to youth court programs and creates training resources and opportunities for new and experienced practitioners. For example, in 2010, the Center, in partnership with the Association of New York State Youth Courts, hosted a conference for youth court practitioners throughout New York State during which participants participated in workshops that focused on priority areas of youth court practice led by youth court experts and practitioners.
The Center’s services include:
- Site visits to youth courts
- Resources for planners and practitioners
- Hands-on assistance
Site visits are one of the best vehicles for introducing planners to the concepts and practice of youth courts. The Center can host visitors at any of its seven youth courts located in New York City and Newark, NJ.
On a typical site visit, visitors will:
- See the youth court in action;
- Meet project staff, who will be available to answer questions;
- Meet the young people who serve on the court to learn about their experiences;
- Obtain sample documents;
- Consider how a youth court might meet the needs of their communities or schools.
Resources for planners and practitioners
The following publications assist planners from inception to implementation:
- Youth Court Planning Guide: A comprehensive framework for starting a school- or community-based youth court from scratch. The guide provides an overview of the youth court model and prompts planners to consider, examine, and decide on all elements of a youth court’s operation, from staffing to referrals to sanctions.
- Youth Court Training Curriculum: A complete curriculum for training young people to serve on a youth court. The curriculum includes over 23 classroom hours, broken into 50-minute lesson plans.
- Creating a Youth Court Operations Manual: A guide for practitioners and planners: This resource is intended to help existing youth courts document, standardize, and maintain the high quality of their programs and help planners of new youth courts develop all of the policies and procedures necessary for a successful program.
The Center for Court Innovation provides intensive one-on-one assistance in the planning, implementation, and enhancement of youth courts. Assistance is available in five main areas:
1. PRE-PLANNING GUIDANCE
The Center can help communities and schools evaluate whether a youth court program suits their goals and resources. The Center works with planners to identify potential program partners and stake-holders and establish preliminary planning objectives.
2. PROJECT PLANNING
Once the project has been defined, the Center can help planners develop a detailed planning document that spells out the scope and goals of a youth court and outlines its policies and procedures.
3. PROJECT DEVELOPMENT Armed with a clear, detailed idea about how to proceed, the Center can help planners move from concept to implementation by identifying ways to overcome hurdles and obstacles, and devising new ways to engage the community and potential partners.
4. EVALUATION The Center can then help planners evaluate the project by establishing performance measures and measuring the youth courts impact on respondents, volunteer youth participants, and the community. 5. TROUBLESHOOTING Finally, the Center can assist with troubleshooting, helping program managers analyze operations and make mid-course adjustments.
Center for Court Innovation experts provide customized workshops, panels, and trainings to youth development, justice system and education practitioners interested in the principles of youth courts practices and other topics as requested.