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community programs

The following program exist to help children and families in our community.

  1. Restorative Justice Program
  2. Victim-Offender Mediation Program
  3. Truancy Program
  4. Fresh Lifelines for Youth, Inc. (F.L.Y.)
  5. Project YEA (Youth Educational Advocates)

Also see our pages on Special Courts for Minors, and Programs for Released Minors.

  1. Restorative Justice Program

    The Probation Department created this program to help kids who have committed small crimes. The program also has services to keep these kids and other at-risk minors away from crime.

    The program wants to:
     
    • Keep these minors out of the juvenile justice system,
    • Keep the community protected, and
    • Have minors take responsibility for their actions

    The Probation Department has programs in cities, school districts and law enforcement agencies. They send minors who are under 18 to “Neighborhood Accountability Boards” for lesser violations. This means that they were taken to a juvenile center or given a citation for:

    • Shoplifting
    • Trespassing
    • Vandalism
    • Small property crimes
    • Small drug crimes and
    • Simple assault and battery

    The Neighborhood Accountability Board is made up of people from the community. They are in charge of holding the minor responsible for breaking the law. The Board meets with the minor and the parents and decides what the minor has to do to fix what they did. There are 13 Neighborhood Accountability Boards in the county, from Gilroy in the south to Los Altos in the north.

  2. Victim-Offender Mediation Program

    This program brings together victims and minors who commit crimes. They try to get them to agree on restitution. Both sides meet with a mediator to reach a settlement. This gives the victim a chance to meet the minor face to face. The minor gets to see how they have affected the victim. The program also helps with family mediation and parent-teen conferences.

     

  3. Truancy Program

    The DA’s Office started our truancy program in 1994. The school districts asked for help enforcing the education codes. The codes say that every student from 6 to 18 years old has to go to school every day and be on time.

    A truant is a student who:

    • Misses school more than 3 times without an excuse, or
    • Is more than 30 minutes late more than 3 times, or
    • Any combination of these two things.

    A habitual truant is a student who:

    • Misses school more than 6 times without an excuse, or
    • Is more than 30 minutes late more than 6 times, or
    • Any combination of these two things, and
    • The school tried to have at least one meeting with the student and their parent/guardian.

    The Truancy Program trains school district employees on how to help truant children. After they know what the problem is, the school meets with the family and minor. They try to solve the problem and help the family find help in the community.

    The school district and DA’s office try to identify the problem in elementary school. They want to stop a child from missing school before it becomes a habit. This can even be a problem as early as kindergarten and 1st grade.

    The Truancy Program also has mediation. The school asks families that need help to go to mediation. The Truancy Program Director and a panel of people from the community meet with several families. School officials from the families’ schools also go to the meeting to talk to the parents. They remind the parents they are legally responsible for sending their kids to school. And they tell them what will happen if they don’t follow the law.

    The community panel can direct the family to help in the community. The school officials from the minors’ school can meet with parents one on one at the end of the meeting. If the problem doesn’t get better, they send the parents to the School Attendance Review Board (SARB). SARB is made up of:  

    • School counselors
    • The Juvenile Probation Department
    • Community organizations
    • Law enforcement agencies, and
    • Health agencies

    The Board meets with families to figure out what is going on with the family. At the end of the meeting, the parents and children sign a contract with the school district. They will also tell the parents where they can get help in the community.

    If the parents don’t obey the SARB contract, they can be tried in court. But this is the last resort. What the community wants is to get the child to go to school. When nothing else works, the case goes to the District Attorney’s Office so charges can be filed against the parents.

    The DA charges the parents with breaking Section 48293 of the Education Code . This means they didn’t obey the law that says they have to send their children to school. This is an infraction. The case will be heard in the Juvenile Justice Department of the Superior Court.

    If the parents fight (contest) the charges, they can have a court trial. If they are found guilty, they can receive a fine of up to $500. They may have to take parenting classes. The judge can make the parents come back to court to make sure the minor is going to school.

    If parents don’t do what the court orders them to do, and if their child continues to miss school, the DA will file other, more serious, charges. The charge is called “contributing to the delinquency of a minor”. It is a misdemeanor. The case will be in the Criminal Court. If the parents are found guilty, they can receive a $2,500 fine and go to jail for 1 year. If the parents are placed on probation, the Court can order them to do certain things.

    If the student is in high school, the school district focuses on the child. They can send the teen to the Neighborhood Accountability Board. Or, they can send them to the Juvenile Traffic Hearing Officer. The Hearing Officer can keep the teen from getting a driver’s license for 1 year. If the teen agrees to go to school, the Hearing Officer may hold off telling the DMV. They only get this chance once.

  4. Fresh Lifelines for Youth Program (F.L.Y.)

    F.L.Y. helps children who break the law for the first-time. The program tries to "lower juvenile violence and juvenile crime by building competencies in youth to help them be more responsible, accountable and able to make healthier lifestyle choices." Most of the children they help are between 12 and 17 years old.

    Probation officers, Neighborhood Accountability Boards, the Courts, school officials, community organizations and parents can send kids to F.L.Y. F.L.Y. is located at: 120 W. Mission St., San Jose, CA 95110, phone number (408) 504-5705 .

    F.L.Y. has 3 programs to help young people:

    • Law-related education (LRE):

      This program teaches young people about the law. It tells them what happens if they break the law. It also teaches them how to solve problems and communicate. They act out situations and have mock debates, trials, and city council hearings. Lawyers, judges, police officers and probation officers come to talk.

      This program is mostly for 1st and 2nd time juvenile offenders. The child meets with a facilitator 2 hours a week for 1 year, once a week for 15 weeks. This can be part of their probation or a contract with their schools or law enforcement. F.L.Y. speaks at middle schools and high schools. They also train teachers and community members who want to start their own LRE programs and give them technical help.

    • Mentoring Program:

      F.L.Y. puts young people in contact with adults who work with them to help them change their goals, attitude, and how they act. The mentors meet with the kids at least 2-3 hours a week for 1 year. They also take the minor to a F.L.Y. activity at least once a month. Every mentor has to pass a strict screening, background check and reference check. They have 12 hours of training. Then more training every month.
       
    • F.L.Y. helps children and families get social services and lawyers.

      F.L.Y. connects families with a lot of different services like:
      • Legal help
      • Parent education
      • Counseling
      • Help with drugs and alcohol
      • Help getting a job
      • Help with emancipation
      • Tattoo removal
      • Help with immigration, and
      • Help for young people whose parents are in jail.
  5. Educational Rights Project: Youth Education Advocates (Project YEA)

    To find out more, call the Juvenile Probation Project Coordinator  at  (408) 278-6066 , or the Social Service Agency Educational Services Coordinator at (408) 975-5488 .

    Kids with learning disabilities have problems growing up. 35% of them drop out of school and get in trouble within 2 years. 60% of teens in drug treatment have a learning disability. Half of the minors in detention can get special education. In the Santa Clara Juvenile Hall, 30% need special education. If they were all tested, probably another 20% would qualify.

    A lot of agencies joined together to start the Education Rights Project. The project gets special education for minors in the system. The goals of this project are to:
     
    • Train social workers and probation officers. And help them find the children who need special services.
    • Make sure that kids get tested for disabilities. And that they get the services they need.
    • Teach parents and other caregivers that they can ask to have their kids tested. They also teach them how to figure out what services they need.

    A big part of the Educational Rights Project is Project YEA. YEA helps parents and guardians by training people who help the parents get the best public education for their children. Project YEA will:

    • Check if a child can get special education and testing.
    • Meet with probation officers or social workers, the child and the parents.
    • Meet with the teachers and watch the child in school.
    • Go to the child’s Individualized Education Plan (IEP) meeting;
    • Help the child and their parents try to solve problems; and
    • Keep an eye on the child’s education plan. And make sure they are getting the services they need.
© 2014 Superior Court of California, County of Santa Clara