YOUTH AID PANEL
The Doylestown Borough Youth Aid Panel has been in existence since 1980. For the past 32 years it has served the community by working with juveniles who have committed criminal offenses and is used as a diversionary measure to keep them from entering into the criminal justice system.
The program is designed to take in juveniles who are first time offenders. Rather than have these cases assigned to the juvenile court system they are kept within the police department and set before the Youth Aid Panel. The panel reviews the case, has the juvenile appear before them, and makes a determination on how the case should be handled. In most cases the juvenile is given a probationary period, a community service assignment that is commensurate with the offense, and occasionally additional tasks that must be performed in allowing the juvenile offender to atone for his/her actions. The juvenile is assigned a caseworker from the panel that oversees the juvenile as they progress through these assignments. They must report as directed to the caseworker throughout the course of their service and probation. When these obligations are met the juvenile is released from the panel with no criminal record.
The panel is made up from members of the community who volunteer their time to work with the young people who are referred to the panel by the police department. A police liaison officer is also a part of the panel and is responsible for the scheduling and organization of the program. There is no prerequisite for panel membership as, over the years, it has been made up of business people, doctors, educators, housewives, etc. The common ground for panel members has always been an interest in helping young people learn from their mistake and continue on in a positive way.
The panel has been highly successful over the years. There have been very few that have committed subsequent offenses after having gone through the Youth Aid Program. Many have gone on to successful careers and have expressed that the panel was very helpful in this regard. Of course, there are never enough good people when it comes to working with the youth in our community. If you are interested in becoming a member, or can offer a place for the kids to perform community service please contact the Central Bucks Regional Police Department Officer Dave Carlen 215-345-4143 (ext 229).