Juvenile Programs

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What is Juvenile Diversion? Juvenile diversion is a program that seeks to divert youth accused of crimes from the formal juvenile justice system and integrate services and restorative justice practices more quickly than the formal court process.  This means a juvenile and criminal charges will be diverted from court to be handled through individually designed case supervision without a judge involved.  The goal of diversion is to prevent further involvement of the juvenile in the legal system.

When and How is the decision made to divert? A juvenile’s criminal case is referred to the District Attorney’s Office from law enforcement with a request for legal action.  Most likely, the juvenile and family will have already received a “Promise to Appear” for a court date.  A risk-needs assessment is normally completed by the officer, which is a screening tool that will help inform diversion decisions. A prosecutor will review the police reports and the risk-needs assessment to make a decision whether the juvenile will be referred to Diversion or formally prosecuted in Court.  If you are offered diversion, the parents of the accused juvenile will be contacted by a Diversion Coordinator to schedule an interview.  You are welcome to call the District Attorney’s office and speak to the juvenile prosecutor to find out if that is an option for your child. 244-1730.

What is the criteria considered when deciding whether to offer diversion to a juvenile? The decision to offer diversion is based upon many factors with discretion left to the prosecutor reviewing the case:

  • type and level of offense,
  • prior law enforcement involvement,
  • level of services needed by the youth,
  • input from the victim,
  • risk level to the community,
  • juvenile’s willingness to be accountable for the crime,
  • juvenile and family willingness to be supervised and amenability for change,
  • whether the juvenile is already being supervised by another agency,
  • has the juvenile previously been offered diversion.

What will happen on Diversion?  If a juvenile is referred to diversion, a Juvenile Justice Coordinator will review the case and contact the juvenile and parents for an appointment to be interviewed for Diversion. This normally happens within 5-10 days after the District Attorney’s Office receives the law enforcement report. On occasion, a case may be referred to diversion after it has already been filed into court.   Sometimes that happens because we are seeking to obtain a protection order/no contact order with a victim first, we are unable to reach the juvenile/family, or we wanted to determine whether the juvenile can stabilize with behaviors before referred to diversion.

An initial interview is scheduled with the parents and the Juvenile. The family will be asked to fill out personal information forms and bring them to the conference, which takes place in the Coordinators office.  A diversion contract is created between the juvenile, the parents and the Coordinator.  Each contract is individualized to address the needs of each juvenile.  The basic diversion program requires:

  • school attendance,
  • employment or participation in an positive extra-curricular activity,
  • curfew,
  • payment of fees,
  • useful public service hours,
  • restorative justice programs,
  • and the payment of restitution if required.

Depending on the needs of a juvenile, a diversion contract may include other conditions such as   MIP Classes, drug/alcohol screening, evaluation and/or treatment, the addiction symposium, victim empathy, victim/offender mediation, anger management, mental health assessment, individual and/or family counseling, grief counseling, and mentoring or advocacy.   Participants in diversion may also access services from the Partners Program, Colorado West Mental Health, Hilltop Youth Services, Mesa County Department of Human Services, Hospice, and various private counseling alternatives. The length of the diversion contract may be determined by the risks and needs associated with each child.

What happens when the contract is completed?  When a youth successfully completes the terms of their contract, the case is closed, the case is thereafter automatically expunged from the juvenile’s record.   An exit interview is conducted and the youth and parent are asked to evaluate the program.

If the youth fails to comply with the terms of the contract the case may be forwarded to court for formal prosecution.  Statistics will be kept to include gender, ethnicity, DOB, class of offense and the result of either compliance or non-compliance.

Juvenile Youth Accountability Programs are offered to eligible candidates in both District and County Court areas. These programs are designed with the use of contracts that are established individually for youth that have received either a citation in County Court or a request for juvenile petition in District Court.

All evidence in cases is held a minimum of forty-five days after sentencing. After the forty-five days have passed then evidence may be released. You must call the appropriate law enforcement agency to make arrangements to pick up your property. Early release of property may be possible for medical and work-related emergencies.

Many juvenile cases have restitution in some form as part of the disposition.

    • If a child is placed on diversion, the diversion coordinator forwards the child to the Partner's Restitution Program or forwards restitution paid by the juvenile to the victims.
    • If a child is placed on probation, the probation officer decides the amount of each payment and how often payments are to be paid. If the Child fails to pay, it is the probation officer's responsibility to bring the child back to Court.
    • If a child is committed to the Department of Human Services, Division of Youth Corrections any restitution requirements are monitored by them.
    • If the Child is paroled, the juvenile parole officer is responsible for monitoring restitution.

All restitution for Court (non-diversion) cases is paid in to the Registry of the District Court and distributed to the victims. The District Court Clerk keeps a record of these payments. You may contact the Clerk's office at (970) 257-3625 for the status of any restitution that was ordered to be paid to you. Please have the court case number available.

The District Attorney's Office receives reports regarding juvenile delinquency activity from law enforcement agencies in Mesa County. These reports are reviewed by juvenile justice coordinators and an attorney and a decision is made regarding whether the Child should be summoned to court or diverted away from the Court.

If a diversion is pursued by this office, the parents or legal guardians of the Child will receive a letter setting a date for a diversion conference with one of our juvenile coordinators. If a formal delinquency action is thought to be necessary, the parents along with the child, will receive a summons to appear in court.

If you have already received the Summons to appear in the District Court, please continue reading this message for additional helpful information.

    • On the day of the appearance in Court, you, your child, and any other parent or guardian will need to appear in court to be advised of:
      • your rights,
      • the procedures which will be used,
      • the delinquent act or acts the child has allegedly committed,
      • and the possible penalties for those acts should the child be found guilty or enter a plea of guilty.
    • At this hearing the Judge will also inquire about the Child's desire for counsel, and the parents desire for counsel separate from the Child.
    • If you wish to obtain counsel for yourself and/or your Child before the advisement hearing, you have every right to do so. It is not, however, required that you attend the first hearing with an attorney.
    • For information on the process involved in obtaining court appointed counsel for the indigent, please contact the Public Defender's Office at 245-9122.
    • If you wish to discuss a resolution of your Child's case: Please read the following carefully.
      • Though it is proper for the prosecuting attorney to speak with you and/or the child before the advisement hearing and before you hire counsel, you are under no obligation to do so. If you do hire or obtain counsel for your child, a parent or guardian that is not represented may still speak directly to this office's staff.
      • Once counsel is obtained the party represented by that attorney cannot engage in conversation with our staff unless their attorney is present. It is improper for this office's staff to speak directly to a person represented by an attorney without that attorney's presence.


Failure in any of the diversion programs or the alleged commission of a serious delinquent act, or a prior history of delinquent acts are all factors considered when the decision is made whether to summons a child to appear in a delinquency proceedings. For more detailed information refer to the  
Summons to Appear in Court section.

When a youth receives a ticket for minor in possession of alcohol, marijuana, or drug paraphernalia, they will need to appear in the First Appearance Center in the County Court system with their parent on the required date noted on the ticket. The Juvenile Justice Coordinator then works through the court system to interview eligible youth for the Youth Accountability Program, but the youth is still responsible to the Court during the contract period. If the youth fails to comply with the contract they are remanded back into the court.

Refer to the Restitution, Property Releases, Summons to appear in Court, and Subpoena sections.