Our Organization

YOUTH DIVERSION PROGRAM
Diversion & Youth Services Division​


The Youth Diversion Program​ is designed and administered by the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department in partnership with several social service agencies in Mecklenburg County. Its purpose is to offer qualified juveniles the opportunity to avoid prosecution in the court system. Parent and Juvenile will attend an 8-hour life skills class or Teen Court to successfully complete the program.

WHY DO WE HAVE THIS PROGRAM?
    In response to the disproportionate minority contacts and the school to prison pipe line, in 2012 CMPD created and implemented the Youth Diversion Program in an effort to lower the number of juvenile arrests in Mecklenburg County. The goal of our Diversion Program is to break the cycle of juvenile justice involvement and an arrest record for youth who commit first time misdemeanor offenses. The program affords Mecklenburg county residents ages 6 - 17 the opportunity to participate in and successfully complete the program as an alternative to criminal prosecution. .


REFERRAL TO YOUTH DIVERSION PROGRAM
    Your child has been referred to the Youth Diversion Program by a Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Officer due to your child’s involvement in a misdemeanor (lesser category) offense. These offenses may include simple assault, larceny, trespassing, public affray, communicating threats, disorderly conduct, damage to property, weapons law violations and alcohol/drug violations.

HOW LONG IS THE PROGRAM?
    There are several different life skills programs available for the Diversion Specialist to utilize. The Diversion Specialist will determine at the intake meeting which one of five 8-hour programs will best benefit the juvenile. The duration of the program will be determined by which program the juvenile is assigned.


WHAT HAPPEN​S IF MY CHILD PARTICIPATES IN THE YOUTH DIVERSION PROGRAM?
    Upon completion of the Youth Diversion Program, the juvenile will not be charged with the offense. This means that the juvenile will not have a juvenile arrest record or an adult arrest record, if over the age of 15.


WHAT HAPPENS IF MY CHILD DOES NOT PARTICIPATE OR FAILS TO COMPLETE THE PROGRAM?
    Participation is voluntary but if the referred juvenile refuses or their parent/guardian refuses to allow them to participate, charges may be filed against them. The case will be referred back to the original investigating officer who made the referral. Charge(s) may be pursued through the Juvenile Court System or the Adult Court System, if over the age of 15.


MY CHILD IS WILLING TO PARTICIPATE. WHAT DO WE DO NEXT?
    You do not need to take any action at this time. You will be contacted by a Diversion Specialist. The Diversion Specialist is an employee of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department and will attempt to contact you by telephone, email, and/or regular U.S. Postal mail. The Diversion Specialist will set up a time to meet with you and your child that will ultimately determine the most appropriate life skills class for your child.


WHAT ARE THE OBLIGATIONS AND INVOLVEMENT OF THE PARENT/ GUARDIAN?
  1. Communicate and cooperate with the Diversion Specialist.

  2. Participate in the intake meeting and attend program classes.

  3. Make sure that the juvenile attends, participates in, and completes the program.

  4. Support the program and your child’s participation in the program.


WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF THE YOUTH DIVERSION PROGRAM?
  1. Instruction on how to think before you act.

  2. Accountability for actions.

  3. Dismissal of charge(s).

  4. Motivation to set and reach personal goals.

  5. Reduced likelihood of committing future crimes.

  6. The knowledge to build a beneficial lifestyle.


HOW MUCH DOES THE PROGRAM COST?
    There is no cost. The program is paid for by the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department.


Youth Engagement Unit
The goal of the Youth Engagement Unit is to provide a continuum of services for youth, who are at risk of or involved in delinquent or criminal activity, designed to reduce the number of youth referred to the criminal justice system, delinquent or criminal activity by youth, and delinquent or criminal recidivism by youth. For more information on Youth Engagement services, practices and contacts, please visit the Youth Engagement​ page.


Letter of Interest
The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department (CMPD), Community Services Bureau, is seeking proposals from community organizations for an 30-hour life skills program for youth that addresses such topics as decision-making, conflict resolution, academic achievement, substance abuse, job readiness, and job placement. ​To apply, please fill out the LOI form.


Diversion Inquiries
    Sgt. Catina Odom
    Juvenile Diversion Sergeant
    Diversion & Youth Services Unit
    704-432-2006
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