The Ottawa Community Youth Diversion Program (OCYDP) seeks to improve the manner in which our community deals with youth who are in conflict with the law. The OCYDP was developed in order to meet the mandate of the Youth Criminal Justice Act that young persons aged 12 to 17 years be diverted from the formal justice system whenever possible and appropriate. The OCYDP aims to hold the young person accountable for his/her actions by providing timely and meaningful consequences. Through the OCYDP, the young person is provided an opportunity to avoid further involvement in the justice system, and he/she does not have to face the negative consequences of having a youth criminal record.
Youth are referred to the OCYDP through the police to complete an extrajudicial measure (EJM), or through the Crown Attorney’s office to complete an extrajudicial sanction (EJS). Screening is completed by the police or Crown Attorney’s office and is based on eligibility criteria and the belief that the youth will benefit from involvement in the program.
At the OCYDP, an individualized risk/needs assessment is completed with each participant using standardized assessment tools. Based on the outcome of the assessment, a case management plan is implemented outlining the goals that the participant is expected to complete. Goals are intended to hold the young person accountable for his/her actions, while also focusing on addressing risk factors and/or needs associated with criminal activity. The assessment process with the caseworker allows parents to express concerns they have with their child, and allows them to make suggestions to the goals the youth will be completing. All goals are delivered through a network of community-based partnering agencies. Examples of goals include: volunteer work, structured programs, counseling, workshops, victim-offender mediation and job search skills. Once goals are completed, a summary report is forwarded to the referring agency (police or Crown Attorney’s office) for review. Successful completion of the OCYDP results in no further action being taken by the police or crown attorney’s office.