Restorative Justice Programs
Victim Offender Restitution Program
The Victim Offender Restitution Program (VORS) gives youth offenders the opportunity to learn the harm they have caused, ‘make right’ their wrongs and become accountable for their actions. The program also works to provide, financial and psychological restitution for victims and relief for the overloaded Juvenile Justice system. Developed under the auspices of a Collaboration Team headed by the Presiding Judge, Victim Offender Restitution receives referrals from throughout LA County via Probation and law enforcement. Mediations facilitated by trained community volunteers are held between offenders and their victims who include private citizens, homeowners, teachers, local city governments, businesses and other children. Crimes include vandalism, theft, assault, shoplifting and other non weapon crimes. In Victim Offender Restitution mediations, offenders learn the harm they have caused and have an opportunity to reach an agreement to make restitution. Since 1992, 98% of the more than 4000 Victim Offender Restitution program mediations have reached agreements resulting in over $700,000 in restitution to victims, over 20,000 hours of community service performed and 3,920 letters of apology written by the youth offenders to their victim.
Family Mediation Program
The Family Mediation Program (FARS) provides mediations for youth who are in severe conflict with their family. After an initial session of problem identification from both the parent and child view point, trained mediators help families craft written agreements on issues. 95% of participants return for a second mediation and when surveyed 3 to 6 months later, using an instrument developed by UCLA/RAND for CYS, over 70% reported reduced family conflict and increased communication skills. Over 85% reported no further contact with authorities regarding conflict. These encouraging results demonstrate that families in severe conflict when engaged in parent/child mediation are able to establish new behavior patterns. The goal of Family Mediation is to assist family members so that they can resolve their own conflict through enhanced communication skills.
STudents Able to Resolve Situations Program
The STARS Program assists Los Angeles area schools to establish Peer Mediation Programs, by training elementary, middle and high school student mediators trained as peer mediators to resolve conflicts at school. Reach for the Stars is operated as a school-based club by Peace Facilitators (school personnel or college interns) who assist peer mediators to conduct mediations between their peers on school campuses. Peer Mediation supports the learning environment by reducing tensions between students and it allows teachers to focus on classroom instruction instead of student discipline. Peer mediation is recognized by the US Department of Justice as an effective method of reducing school violence. Research indicates that conflict resolution education and reduction in campus violence also improves students' academic progress, among the disputants as well as the peer mediators.
Conflict Resolution Workshops
Conflict Resolution Workshops are offered as part of After-School and/or Saturday School Programs in participating high schools. Workshops address bullying, conflict resolution, anger management, and effective communication skills. Students gain attendance credits by participating in Workshops in lieu of suspension and detention. As a result, school attendance is improved, truancy is reduced and average daily attendance is increased.
Counseling and Resource Services (CARS)
Counseling and Resource Services (CARS) Professional mental counseling is indicated when the conflict is principally inside the individual. For 34 years, CYS has referred and funded youth for counseling services from professional therapist. The CARS program helps teens and pre-teens deal with complex emotional issues by providing mental health or substance abuse treatment, as needed. Counseling referrals come from parents, school counselors and law enforcement personnel. CYS has on-going contracts with counseling professionals who specialize in serving at-risk youth.
Everychild Restorative Justice Center
In the spring of 2012 CYS opened the Everychild Restorative Justice Center to divert vulnerable, high-risk youth from the juvenile justice system into community-based, developmental services and supports so that youth break the cycle of delinquent and criminal behavior and activity. Located near the Inglewood Court, the Center will target communities with high rates of crime and poverty within the Court jurisdiction in the cities of Inglewood, Hawthorne, Lawndale, Gardena; the unincorporated areas of Lennox and West Athens and adjacent communities in south central Los Angeles. The Center will utilize restorative justice principles to integrate evidence-based victim offender and family mediation services linked to intensive case management, legal and education rights advocacy and wrap-around youth development services provided in-kind by a variety of community-based agencies. CYS will open a second Restorative Justice Center in the summer of 2013 in south Los Angeles serving youth referred from the 77th and Southeast LAPD divisions in the Kenyon Juvenile Justice Center Court jurisdiction.
Centinela Youth Services, Inc. (CYS) is a 501c3 non-profit community-based organization established in 1975 serving the County of Los Angeles.
Since 1992 CYS has become a leading agency in providing a variety of mediation and conflict resolution services to some of LA County’s most vulnerable youth. CYS utilizes an effective system of services and supports to teach youth to resolve conflicts without aggression at home, school and in their community in order to reduce the number of youth attached to the juvenile justice system. CYS has trained over 8,000 student and 1,000 adult volunteer mediators; completed more than 2,000 mediations between youth offenders and their victims; and restored communication and respect between nearly 3,000 youth and their parents. The impact on vulnerable youth can be measured in lives changed and lives saved. CYS receives referrals from long-standing community partners that include Los Angeles County Probation, four local law enforcement agencies, and 35 K-12 schools in five school districts. Program referrals also come from community partners such as churches, social service agencies and numerous self-referrals. CYS’ caring and professional staffs have grown from three employees to fourteen trained and ethnically diverse employees and over 100 volunteer mediators and interns.
CYS operates innovative programs that are proven to increase student performance, reduce school dropout rates, help preserve families, reduce gang involvement, youth violence and crime.
CYS programs are client-centered to serve vulnerable youth and
The mission of Centinela Youth Services is to strengthen families and communities by empowering Los Angeles area youth (7-21 years of age) to resolve conflicts and overcome obstacles in order to become successful students and contributing adults. Centinel