Updated Youth Diversion and
Development Quarterly Data:
to YDD Programs by April 1, 2022
Section 1: Overview of
all Referrals Received by YDD Providers
The Los Angeles County Youth Diversion and Development (YDD) initiative began receiving referrals for our first program cohort in April 2019. This first cohort included 8 program locations with the goal of expanding by 5-10 locations each year to reach full, countywide implementation by 2024. As of April 1, 2022, the organizations in the first YDD cohort received 1373 total youth referrals from Culver City Police Department, El Monte Police Department, Pasadena Police Department, Huntington Park Police Department, Long Beach Police Department, Los Angeles Police Department, Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, and the District Attorney’s Office (Figure 1).
Implementation has been staggered since the launch of the program with referral partners coming on board at different times. In 2021, the YDD network is prioritizing increasing the number of young people served by both bringing on additional program locations and substantially increasing the proportion of eligible youth referred per month with the goal of receiving referrals for ~ 80% of youth arrests in each partnering law enforcement jurisdiction. YDD has not yet reached the initial benchmark of receiving an average of approximately 100 referrals per month. YDD is committed to continuing to strive for an increase in youth diversion across partnerships and across LA County. The launch of Cohort 2 sites this year will increase YDD’s ability to connect youth with services.
Launched in November 2021, this is the 2nd quarter of YDD’s participation in the District Attorney’s Restorative Enhanced Diversion for Youth (REDY) program, extending eligibility for diversion services. YDD has also begun accepting Probation Citation referrals as a type of informal referral and has received 363 this quarter. Probation Citation referrals are not reflected in this dashboard and are not counted in our total number of referrals.
Section 2: Demographic
Information for Youth Referred to Diversion Formally and by DA
Nationwide trends show that Black youth are consistently more likely than their peers to be arrested and less likely to be referred to diversion programs. Black youth are disproportionately arrested in Los Angeles County—youth arrests reported in recent years are consistently about 62% Hispanic/Latinx, 24% Black/African American, 10% White, and 4% Asian/Pacific Islander or “Other.” YDD works to reduce the disproportionate arrest of Black youth and advance equitable access to community alternatives to justice system involvement by ensuring that youth are not disproportionately excluded from diversion referral, enrollment, or completion by race, age, or gender (Figures 3-5).
Section 3: Incident Data for Youth Referred to Diversion Formally and by DA
The majority of referrals to YDD programs are the result of law enforcement encounters at school or in the community. Although some providers have established relationships with local schools, the YDD network will be supported by the Youth Justice Reimagined initiative to develop a concrete plan in 2021 to better collaborate with schools to reduce school-based arrests. We also hope to finalize an assessment of current capacity and needs related to reducing arrests and increasing referrals to supportive alternatives for youth living in group homes.
Of youth formally referred to diversion so far, 34% have been referred for alleged felonies and 56% have been referred for alleged misdemeanors (Figure 6). Although the percentage of referrals for alleged felonies is promising, referrals for low-level misdemeanor and status offenses or infractions are not currently aligned with YDD policy guidelines. YDD staff is working with program leadership and law enforcement leadership to transition referrals for alleged status offenses and misdemeanor petty theft offenses to the informal rather than formal participation status in alignment with the YDD model’s implementation and data sharing guidelines (Figure 7).
Section 4: Connections to Activities and Services and Progress
The most common categories of activities and services included in individualized YDD programs based on youth needs and goals so far have been: 1) school-related support (including tutoring and educational rights advocacy), 2) restorative and transformative practices (including conflict resolution and civic engagement / social justice), 3) recreational and arts activities (including dance classes and connections to local sports), and 4) work-related support (including employment and career development).
On average, participants have shown increases in their protective factors across the board over the course of their participation, increasing the average score across the board, where lower scores represent fewer protective factors in each category and higher scores represent more (Figure 8).