According to the U.S. Dept. of Justice, in 2009 juvenile courts handled close to 1.5 million delinquency cases nationwide. Juveniles younger than 16 years of age accounted for 52% of cases handled and there were over 7,600 cases waived to adult criminal court. At risk youth are involved in status offenses or crimes such as truancy, drug and alcohol use, runaway or more which cause them to become part of the juvenile justice system. This trend affects our local community crime statistics and creates a negative educational impact for our youth.
About the Program
The Court Appointed Youth Advocate (CAYA) Program seeks to reach every youth who is adjudicated delinquent in order to reduce the probability of reoffending by working directly with them. Our mission is to support the best interest of those youth who are involved in the juvenile justice system due to delinquent acts by promoting intervention services and providing a positive mentor. The Juvenile Magistrate appoints a youth advocate to assist in concerns of adolescents who have been adjudicated delinquent. The advocate acts as an additional support to all involved with the youth at this time and promotes better choices and personal growth.
With qualified and trained volunteers available to mentor these adolescents, we can impact their choices and assist in positive personal development. No experience is needed; however successful volunteers 21 years and older will complete a screening process beginning with an application. Comprehensive 3-part training will include understanding how the juvenile justice system works, a visit to the Juvenile Services Center and juvenile court observation. Additional training opportunities will be available as pertinent workshop topics are announced.
Why We Need You
Every day, there are many adolescents who wish there was someone who they could talk to express their concerns; someone who represents their feelings without bias; a positive role model to look up to and interact with. A CAYA is that person who listens and understands and represents the best interest of the youth. Volunteers are needed who have experiences to share and time to give to a youth in need. Whether it is tutoring, sharing a movie, a game of bowling or just a quick phone call, the impact on a teen can be huge. Our volunteers have diversified backgrounds, experience and cultural differences. We need your talents to assist our community youth!
How to Get Started
To learn more about the CAYA Program of La Porte County and how you can make a difference, contact the CAYA Program Director, Brenda Stellema, at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 219.324.3385 today. Those interested in becoming a CAYA volunteer should download an application below and return to us.
CAYA Advocate Application