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Office of Juvenile Justice and

Honorary Chairperson
Delinquency Prevention
Katie Self, Sarasota, Florida 810 Seventh Street NW
Washington, DC 20531
Honorary National Committee E-mail:
Sharon Leon Lisa Albert-Konecky Ginny Espenshade
Candace Brower Robert Coghill Charlsie Cordova
David Berni William Grahm Judson Kate Spaulding
Karen Green Eduardo F. Cue’ Jo Ann Allen National Highway Traffic Safety
Hon. Richard Couzens
Jon Messick
Patrick Dana
David Medvec
Stephanie Glass
Trish Borresen
Stephanie Breach Gary Kepley David Kidd
400 Seventh Street SW
Candace Fuji Sandra Porter-Phillips Bonita Schaff Washington, DC 20590
Lorna Stephen Brandon Halleck Robin Winkfield E-mail:
Hon. Karen Thomas Melissa Goins EA USA John Duncan
Linda Anson Pat Faulkinberry Kathy Haas
Elizabeth Hollingsworth Shonda Houston E. Rick Miller
Carole Collins Georgine DeBoard Maryellen Kraese Office of Safe and Drug-Free Schools
James Gossage Antonia Hernandez Karen Garcia 400 Maryland Avenue SW
David Garcia Violet Colydas Judy Wolfe Washington, DC 20202
Stacey Whitely Andrew Placito Johnice Autry
Glenn Faison Glenda Ansley Lessie Penn
Hon. Joe Board Donald Lanier Marlene Todd
Michelle Brink-Gluhosky Noreen Plummage Anjanette Eash
Linda Schenk
Sandy Varner
Marjorie McCoy
Tammy Hawkins
Myra Weeks
Kathleen Zeitlin
Phi Alpha Delta Law Fraternity
Lori Silcox Karlene Peart Susan Goettsch Public Service Center
Rick Peters Danetta Rutten Pam Inglesby 345 North Charles Street, Third Floor
Nancy Livingston Katrina Eisfeldt Margaret McCullough Baltimore, Maryland 21201
Denise Kervin Jaime Hawk Mark Hall

An extraordinary and cohesive group of 76 individuals joined
to establish the first ever private national association to represent
local youth courts, teen courts, student courts and peer courts across
National Association of
America. This association is called the National Association of Youth Courts, Inc.
Youth Courts, Inc. and will become fully operational in 2008. The 345 North Charles Street, Second Floor
individuals above are to be commended as founding members. These Baltimore, Maryland 21201
76 individuals serve as the 22-member board of trustees and the 54
national committee members. E-mail:
Ms. Katie Self is designated as the 2007 National Chairperson
as she is the 1st President of the 22-member board of trustees of
the National Association of Youth Courts, Inc. On behalf of the
thousands of staff and adult volunteers across America who keep
National Council of
our programs operational and provide valuable and much needed Juvenile and Family Court Judges
prevention and intervention services to our children and youth—we PO Box 8970
join to congratulate the Honorary Committee and Chairperson. Reno, Nevada 89507

We would like to thank Tracy Godwin-Mullins, Lisa Ginter, John R. Higgins, Britney Batz and Scott Peterson for
their contributions to this year’s National Youth Court Month Planning and Action Guide.

The Local Grass-Roots National
Movement Continues...


1,301..............................................................A record number of local youth court, teen court, peer court and
student court programs in the United States of America. Only about
fifty (50) local programs were operational in 1993.

49......................................................................A record number of states that now have an operational local youth
court, teen court, peer court or student court program. The District of
Columbia also has an operational program. Only about six (6) states
had operational programs in 1993.

21......................................................................A record number of States that have formal and informal State
Youth Court and Teen Court Associations and Networking Groups.
Approximately two (2) state association or state networking groups
were existing in 1993.

125,000.......................................................A record number of youthful offenders and juvenile delinquents who
were accepted annually for disposition and sentencing by their
peers in local youth court, teen court, student court and peer court
programs across America. No data is available for the year 1993. If
it were – the number would be considerably less given the record
number of local programs in America.

110,000.......................................................A record number of junior and high school age volunteers annually
as judge, prosecutor, defender, clerk/bailiff, jury foreperson and/or as
jurors in local youth court, peer court, student court and teen courts
across America. No data is available for the year 1993. If it were
– the number would be considerably less given the record number of
local programs in America.

Additionally, hundreds of communities are implementing new youth court programs as the Global Youth Justice
Movement continues. These programs have emerged as the most replicated intervention and diversion program
since the establishment of the first U.S. Juvenile Court in 1899. Tens of thousands of adults are now involved annually
across America in these programs. These adults serve as staff and volunteers and are setting a new record with
regards to the number who are involved with these programs.

For more information about the National Association of Youth Courts, Inc., an
initiative of the Federal Youth Court Program, please log on to
or contact Scott Peterson ( or
Britney Batz ( 

The theme for the 2007 National Youth Court Month, “Empowering Youth-Experiencing Justice” provides a great
starting point for planning events to showcase the benefits of your program—to the community as a whole and to
individuals. The following are some suggestions for preparing for National Youth Court Month.

• Establish a local planning committee to assist in the coordination your activity or event.
of 2007 National Youth Court Month events. Local planning • Develop an action plan that outlines tasks for completing the
committee members may include youth court staff, youth and adult project, who will be assigned to specific tasks, and when the tasks will
volunteers, and representatives from partner organizations or other be completed. Review your action plan regularly to make sure things
key stakeholder groups (e.g. juvenile court, juvenile probation, law are going as planned.
enforcement, schools). Each year, reevaluate your committee. Are
there additional community members that you would like to add? • Determine how you will obtain funds and in-kind support. Assign
committee members to contact various potential supporters to solicit
• Determine what you want to do. Consider the following: their assistance and acknowledge all who contribute (both financially
What do you want to accomplish with the activity or event and through in-kind support).
(e.g. recruit new volunteers, honor current volunteers, gain
recognition for your program, or educate respondents)? • Gather statistics on your program and educate any youth and adults
Do you want to conduct an activity or event that is a one-day or who will be serving as spokespersons for your program so they will
multi-day event? be prepared to share information with others during National Youth
What type of activity or event will help you accomplish your Court Month activities and events. Some helpful statistics to know
goal? are:
Who do you want/need involved in conducting the event or When your program was implemented.
activity (e.g., youth volunteers, adult volunteers, respondents, The number of cases you handle in a year.
youth court staff )? Are these persons willing and able to assist The types of offenses your program accepts.
you? The types of agencies who refer cases to your program.
How many people will be required to complete the activity or The types of sentencing options your program utilizes.
event? The number of youth and adult volunteers involved in your
If there is inclement weather, will that affect the outcome of the program.
event (e.g. If it rains, will the event have to be cancelled)? Your annual operating budget.
Does your event conflict with another major event in which your The type of agencies and organizations that support your
volunteers or constituents may be involved(i.e. band concert, program through financial or in-kind support.
sporting events, etc.)? Data on your program’s effectiveness.

Join with other organizations to plan and organize National • Familiarize yourself with national statistics on youth courts. You
Youth Court Month events. When determining local or state can find a link to updated national youth court facts and stats on the
organizations that may be able to assist you in your efforts, keep Federal Youth Program’s website by clicking on “Facts and Stats” on
track of the following information: the top navigation bar. Another helpful report for national data is
Youth Court: A Community Solution for Embracing At-Risk Youth by
Name of Organization the American Youth Policy Forum that can be downloaded from the
Contact Person for Organization Federal Youth Program’s website ( by clicking on
Contact Person’s Work Hours and Best Time to Call the “Publications” button on the left side of the homepage.
Phone Number • Invite local media to cover your event or activity. No matter how
Fax Number much time and effort you put into your activity, it will not be a success
Email Address unless you get the word out. See the Tips for Involving Media in this
Type of Support Organization Can Provide Action Kit for more information on strategies involving the media.
Keep a telephone log to track the date and time that you called
• Document your event by taking pictures and collecting copies of
the prospective organization and what the response was from the
newspaper articles about your event or activity. Make sure to get
organization. You also can refer to this log in future years when
appropriate waivers and release forms signed by youth and parents/
determining the types of organizations with which to partner.
guardian when taking and using photos of youth.
• Develop a budget for your activity or event. Determine if and what
• Send a thank you note to everyone who helped you with this project
type of monetary funds or in-kind donations you need to conduct
or activity.

Suggested Local Activities
The following suggested activities are designed to assist you in developing events around this year’s theme, Empowering Youth, Experiencing Justice.
Many of the activities and events suggested have been successfully sponsored by youth court programs during the past celebrations of National Youth
Court Month. These activities and events have been organized into two categories:
• Increasing Public Awareness and Support for Your Program
• Recruiting, Training, Organizing, Recognizing and Retaining Volunteers

Customize the suggested activity or event to meet your needs, or come up with your own unique idea. You can also find additional ideas for activities
or events on Youth Service America’s website at or in Giving Back: Introducing Community Service Learning—Improving Mandated
Community Service for Juvenile Offenders (available for download on the Federal Youth Court Program’s website at Some
programs plan one activity or event, while others plan a series of activities and events throughout the month. Do what works best for your agency! If
your state has a state youth court association, network with other programs in your state to plan at least one statewide event in support of National Youth
Court Month. As always, don’t forget to share your plans for National Youth Court Month with the National Association of Youth Courts, Inc. Email a
description of your planned activities and events to

Increasing Public Awareness and Support for Your Program
If you don’t tell your own story, who is going to know why your youth court exists, how it works,
or how it benefits your community? National Youth Court Month is a prime occasion for telling others
about the great things that your youth court does. The following are some suggested activities and
events you can conduct to increase the public’s awareness about your program, share your program’s
successes, and generate more support for your program.
• Host an open house for law enforcement, juvenile court, juvenile probation, judges, school personnel,
youth service organizations, parents, and other key stakeholders in your community to educate them
about your program.
• Present a mock hearing for key stakeholders and other community members to let them see how
youth court works. Conduct a panel discussion after the hearing to give participants an opportunity to
ask youth volunteers questions.
• Deliver a presentation to community civic groups, schools, and fraternal and faith-based organizations
on the benefits of youth court. You can also use this opportunity to recruit adult volunteers. National
youth court facts and statistics that can be used to enhance your presentation may be found on the
Federal Youth Court Program’s website.
• Have a proclamation or resolution signed for National Youth Court Month. An elected or appointed
executive, such as the Governor, County Executive, or Mayor makes a proclamation. A legislative
body, such as your state legislature, county commission, or city council adopts a resolution. Have the
proclamation or resolution printed in the newspaper or read on local television or radio programs.
Display the proclamation or resolution in your youth court offices, courthouse, and other public places.
If there is a signing ceremony, arrange for some of your youth to talk about the value of youth court to
them and to the community. Be sure to arrange for media coverage. Visit your city or county elected
officials and arrange for some of your youth to talk about the value of youth court to young people and
to the community.
• Sponsor an essay contest for elementary, middle, junior high, and/or high school students (grades
3-12). Using the theme of 2007 National Youth Court Month, “Empowering Youth, Experiencing
Justice,” ask students to write essays that describe their view of how youth courts empower youth and
administer justice in their communities. Select a panel of judges that includes representatives from the
criminal and juvenile justice systems, law enforcement, and community leaders. Request local businesses
and community service organizations to donate prizes. Arrange for the essays to be printed in the local
or school newspapers, as well as displayed in the courthouse during National Youth Court Month.
Sponsor an awards ceremony that honors the winners, either during a public event or a school assembly.
Invite the winners to read their winning essays during a ceremony for National Youth Court Month or
before a mock hearing at a school.
• Create an art exhibit. Have youth volunteers and/or respondents make posters to hang in local schools
and/or public places about how youth court empowers youth and administers justice. Consider taking
the 6-10 best posters and having them all reproduced and printed on one poster that can be displayed
and used throughout the year to promote your program. 

• Have youth volunteers and/or respondents create a large banner • Organize a “Bring-a-Friend” to Youth Court Night. Encourage
on canvas. Hang the banner in approved public places such as the all current youth court volunteers to bring a friend to a special
courthouse and schools. youth court event. Types of events may include an open house,
• Contact local media to encourage them to feature stories on your mock hearing, training program, special presentation, or social or
youth court during National Youth Court Month. Also send press recreational outing sponsored by the youth court. Have volunteer
releases or media advisories for events and activities your program is applications on hand to distribute to all youth who attend.
doing for National Youth Court Month. • Put a banner on your local youth court program’s website inviting
• Arrange for a representative from your program (e.g., youth people to volunteer for your program. Link the banner to your
volunteers, staff, adult volunteers) to appear on local television or program’s email address so that prospective volunteers can email you
radio news shows to promote youth court and to discuss the benefits to let you know of their interest.
to young people and the community. • Create bumper stickers, bookmarks, ribbons, and other
• Ask local companies to add a tag line to their advertisements that promotional items to advertise your program and to recruit
shows their support of your local youth court and of National Youth volunteers. Distribute the items to current volunteers, respondents,
Court Month. volunteer and respondent family members, key stakeholders, and
• Prepare public service announcements related to youth court and other community members so that your program will garner more
National Youth Court Month. Contact television and radio stations name recognition.
to arrange for the public service announcements to be broadcast • Conduct a pre-service training program for new volunteers to
during National Youth Court Month. educate them about youth court and to prepare them for their
• Place a banner on your local program’s website publicizing National volunteer roles. You can also conduct an in-service training program
Youth Court Month. Is there going to be a banner that can be for current volunteers to enhance their knowledge of a particular
downloaded from this year? If so, reference that subject (e.g., the effect of crime on victims) or to enhance their skills
here. in a certain area (e.g., questioning, case preparation, deliberation). Go
• Organize and conduct a fundraiser (e.g., golf tournament, bowl-a- to the Federal Youth Court Program’s website for curricula and other
thon) for your program. Advertise the event and solicit participation resources that have been developed to assist you in conducting various
from the community at-large to spread the word about your program training programs.
and to solicit new funds. • Organize a state youth court conference for youth volunteers and
program staff.
Recruiting, Training, Organizing, • Hold a volunteer banquet or recognition ceremony and give a
Recognizing and Retaining Volunteers certificate of appreciation to all volunteers.
This past year, the Federal Youth Court Program unveiled a new • Provide a list of the names of your program’s volunteers to the
acronym related to the work that youth courts do with youth and adult local newspaper for them to publish, recognizing their service to the
volunteers—R-TORR. R-TORR stands for Recruiting, Training, program. You can also submit a list of volunteers’ names to school
Organizing, Recognizing and Retaining Volunteers. National Youth Court newspapers. Don’t forget to list them in your program’s newsletter.
Month is an opportune time to implement events and activities espoused • Organize a recreational or social event for youth court volunteers
in the R-TORR approach. Some sample activities and events that you can (e.g., spend the day at a local amusement park, go bowling, have
conduct include: a pizza party) to give them an opportunity to relax and enjoy the
• Conduct a recruitment drive and follow up with a training seminar company of other volunteers and program staff.
for new volunteers. • Solicit funds that will allow you to purchase t-shirts, pins, gym bags,
• Review your program’s current use of adult and youth volunteers. etc. that you can provide to all of your volunteers as a thank you.
Determine additional areas in which you can use volunteer assistance. • Create a youth court scholarship and award the scholarship to an
Develop new volunteer job descriptions and then go out and recruit! outstanding youth volunteer during National Youth Court Month.
• Contact local schools and service clubs (e.g., Boy Scouts, Girl Ask local businesses to contribute to the scholarship fund.
Scouts) to find out if they have any community service requirements
for their students or members that could be fulfilled through
participation in youth court. Inform the organization about youth
court and, if an agreement is reached for service to the program to
qualify for credit toward community service, then work with those If you are looking for publications and
groups to educate the youth about the program and ways in which
they can volunteer.
resources that:
• Offer instruction on developing a youth court program
• Set up a youth court booth or display table at a local school,
• Contain curricula for training volunteers
community fair, or local youth service organizations. Staff the
• Contain lesson plans for educational workshops for respondents
booth or display with youth court volunteers to educate students
• Provide an overview of the effectiveness of youth courts
about youth court and recruit new members.
• Provide useful statistical information on youth courts
• Create a visual display of youth court materials (e.g., table top,
• Offer insight on new ways to enhance youth court programs’
bulletin board) about your youth court program. You may want to do
several displays and to exhibit at more than one location. Place these
displays in prominent areas, such as the lobby of the city or county
office building, the courthouse, a school, or other public places. Then, visit our website today!
• Conduct a mock hearing at local middle and high schools. Arrange
to conduct the mock hearing during a school assembly or during a
civics or social studies class. If possible, let the audience break into
small groups to participate as jurors.

THINGS TO DO for Youth Court Month

Alaska Kentucky
The Mat-Su Youth Court celebrated its ten year anniversary last The Mayors of Berea and Richmond, Kentucky as well as the Madison
year. They publicized this anniversary to the community during National County Judge-Executive were invited to watch the Madison County Teen
Youth Court Month. In addition, in an effort to recruit new volunteers, the Court perform a Mock Trial on September 6th. While there, they also
program held mock sentencing hearings in its local shopping mall; featured signed proclamations for National Youth Court Month.
a display, posters/phrases/collage of pictures in its local courthouse to
show off ten years of students handling real cases of their peers in the Louisiana
courthouse; and broadcasted radio spots letting the public know about its National Youth Court Month plans included a massive teen volunteer
ten year anniversary. Lastly, they created a scrapbook of pictures from over recruitment drive. They attempted to get all parish principals to excuse teen
the years to give to the family of Jim Messick (the founder of the program). court volunteers from school on Friday, September 8, 2006 for a 1-day long
The scrapbook was presented to his family during their fall volunteer class training. Fortunately, two schools have law magnet programs, as well as
graduation. their own courtrooms. The Alexandria Bar Association, Young Lawyers
North Star Youth Court in Fairbanks, Alaska conducted a mock trial Division provided lunch for the training along with their expertise. The
clinic for current attorneys and interested community members as part of Young Lawyers volunteer throughout the year as our judges. The 9th
its National Youth Court Month festivities. The event was advertised via Judicial Circuit also worked with the local mall to set up an information
PSA’s promoting National Youth Court Month. booth.
The Webster Parish Teen Court, which is funded by the Bossier/
Arizona Webster Office of the District Attorney, had a pizza party for the local
Pima County Teen Court hosted a two-part Teacher Training for volunteers in celebration of National Youth Court Month, before their
educators in the Teen Court in the Schools (TCIS) program. Part One September 25, 2006, Teen Court.
was designed for educators with one or more years experience teaching
TCIS. It focused on restorative justice. Participants brainstormed ways to New York
increase the restorative nature of their schools’ programs. Ideas included The Warren County Youth Court Program set aside September 28,
using Victim Impact Statements and suggesting meaningful community 2006, for the National Youth Court Day. They presented some facts about
service projects as opposed to general janitor assistance. Part Two was for youth court and hosted a mock trial that was open to the public. They also
educators new to TCIS. It was a train-the-trainer workshop. Participants recognized their volunteers who worked so hard to get the program up and
practiced writing opening statements, witness examinations, closing running.
arguments, and objections, everything they need to teach a Teen Court The Livingston County Youth Court conducted a mock hearing on
class and ended with a mock trial incorporating all the information learned September 25, 2006, for National Youth Court Month.
in the workshop.
South Carolina
Florida In honor of National Youth Court Month, the South Carolina
The Lake County, Florida Teen Court program celebrated National Youth Court Association sponsored its first Statewide Youth Summit
Youth Court Month by presenting a proclamation in support of youth and Training Seminar on September 30, 2006. There were tracks for youth
courts by the Board of County Commissioners, increasing volunteer and adult volunteers. As part of the celebration they held a luncheon and
recruitment efforts, conducting volunteer training sessions, hosting invited stakeholders.
a Volunteer Recognition Party (the 2006 theme is a LUAU—Let Us
Appreciate U); and publishing stories and announcements about the South Dakota
program through various media outlets. For several years during National Youth Court Month, Central
Teen Court has held open houses (mock trials and refreshments). When
Georgia advertising the Teen Court event, they asked that those attending bring
Dublin-Laurens County Teen Court conducted observational items to donate to the animal shelter (cat and dog food, kitty litter, etc.) to
survey seatbelt checks at each local high school and distributed coupons the open house with them. The volunteers then take the items to
to each student driver that was buckled up appropriately. This project was the shelter.
used to promote traffic safety and seatbelt safety among teenage drivers.
Teen court student volunteers and school organizations assisted in this
Tennessee The event provided 54 youth and 28 adults an opportunity to learn, share
The Tennessee Youth Court Program held a Youth Court Day for and grow. The conference was held in a central location to allow all of
teens involved in youth and teen courts on Saturday, September 30, 2006. the state’s Teen Courts an opportunity to attend. WTCA was awarded a
The event was conducted at Wilson Central High School and offered Juvenile Justice Award Grant to help local programs afford to bring youth
sessions that teen court members chose by voting online. Session options volunteers to the conference.
included a variety of topics such as dating violence, student rights at school, The conference began with a poverty simulation. The Bridges out of
negotiation skills and female offenders. Poverty Simulation is designed to help participants begin to understand
In 2002, then Governor Don Sundquist declared September to what it might be like to live in a typical low-income family. After the
be National Youth Court Month in Tennessee. A press conference was poverty simulation participants took part in a networking lunch. The
held and Tennessee Supreme Court Chief Justice Frank F. Drowota and youth were particularly interested in talking with volunteers from other
Davidson County Juvenile Court Judge Betty Adams Green were on hand Teen Courts from across the state to share how their Teen Courts operate.
to laud youth courts in Tennessee for their efforts and educational benefits. During lunch, all of our state’s Teen Courts and Coordinators were
Governor Phil Bredesen has been asked to declare September 2003 honored for their years of service.
National Youth Court Month in our state. After lunch, participants had the opportunity to choose from five
breakout sessions. One of the breakout sessions, entitled Teen Court Start-
Texas up, gave those who were considering starting a Teen Court the chance to
The Wichita County Teen Court located in Wichita Falls conducted discover what a teen court might look like in their community. They also
a massive recruitment drive in the local middle and high schools in the area discussed funding sources, logistics, and capacity building. Seasoned Teen
as well as an annual training of volunteers. The board of directors had a Court volunteers and coordinators could choose from Team Building
fundraiser dinner at a live dinner theatre. In addition, they hosted a booth Activities, Teen Brain Development, Diversity Training, and Empowering
at the local Fall Fest—an annual event where beads were provided as prizes. Victims in Your Teen Court Process. The second track saw repeats of
several of the breakouts, as well as What is Peer Pressure? and Wisconsin
Teen Court Association Scholarship Development.
The day was concluded with round table discussions. Groups were
Salt Lake Peer Court held its annual Swearing-In Ceremony on
given an opportunity to discuss what they learned and to make plans to
September 12, 2006 for 90 youth volunteers and their families. Juvenile
implement change in their Teen Courts. Both youth and adults had great
Court Judge Andrew Valdez spoke and conducted the swearing-in. There
comments about the conference. One participant said, “What I liked most
also was one student speaker. City officials and other stakeholders were
about this year’s conference was the variety of sessions offered in addition
invited to attend this evening ceremony.
to the networking with others programs. I was very impressed with the
teenagers present. The pizza meal was very good & the awards presentation
Washington was very nice. Thank you.” The conference was a great success and the tie
Clallam County Teen Court is doing a month long radio series to National Youth Court Month helped to make it even more special.
of Crime Prevention Tips for Citizens of Clallam County. Teen Court
members will pre-record tips of their own making hoping to enhance youth
relationships with community, police and especially senior citizens. Teen
Court members will also maintain a speakers calendar for service clubs and
community organizations who wish youth to speak on community crime
prevention, and using kids to deliver messages for crime free communities.
The Thurston County Youth Court participated in National Youth
Court Month by conducting a tour of local schools throughout the month
to recruit new volunteer students.

In September, 2005, in celebration of National Teen Court Month,
the Wisconsin Teen Court Association held its third state conference.

Additional Ideas
On a local level, individual programs can have their mayor or county executive make a similar proclamation for their city or county. A basic
draft of a proclamation is in this action kit, along with a sample letter to be sent to the designated official.

Hall of Honor
One way to recognize the hard work done by volunteers of these programs is the Volunteer Hall of Honor. Please submit your nominations to for recognition in the Fall Issue of the In Session Newsletter.

Mock Case
Hosting a mock trial to demonstrate what goes on during a youth court session is another way to help others in the community learn about
youth court and showcase the skills and abilities of youth court volunteers. Holding an event like this on a weekday evening or in conjunction with
another compatible event in your community will boost attendance. Another idea would be to work with another youth court in your area so that
both communities can watch a sample case. One set of volunteers would serve as the prosecution while the other youth court volunteers serve as the

(Recruit, Train, Organize, Recognize and Retain Volunteers)
Concept Developed by Scott B. Peterson

Note: Unless otherwise specified, all publications identified in this handout are available for download on the Federal Youth Court Program’s website at www. by clicking on the “Publications” button. To inquire if hard copies are available, email the Federal Youth Court Program at youthcourt@ncjfcj.

Youth and adult volunteers are the backbone of youth court programs. Resources available to help recruit volunteers include:

Peer Justice and Youth Empowerment: An Implementation Guide for Teen Court Programs (Chapter 8)

National Youth Court Guidelines (Chapter 7)

Volunteer Recruitment Posters (available in youth, teen, peer, and student court versions). Order online at

Sample Youth Court Forms (available in Word and PDF formats).
Youth Volunteer Job Application template
Adult Volunteer Job Application template
Volunteer Job Description template
To access, click on the “Resources” button on the left side of the Federal Youth Court Program’s homepage, and then click on the Sample Youth
Court Forms link.
• RFI Responses. There is a section on the Federal Youth Court Program’s website that contains compilations of responses that youth court
coordinators have provided on various questions/issues of concern related to operating a program. There are several responses currently posted that
can assist when recruiting volunteers such as how to recruit home school youth and information on schools that allow youth to receive school credit
for participation in youth courts. To locate these responses, click on the “Resources” button on the Federal Youth Court Program’s website and then
click on the Request for Information Responses link. New topics are added periodically, so this is a section of the website that you may want to visit
often to see if new information has been posted.

Developing an effective volunteer training component is an essential component to any youth court program. Training provides volunteers with the
knowledge and skills needed to perform their assigned tasks effectively and efficiently. Training also provides volunteers with an opportunity for personal
growth and enrichment. The following resources are available to assist you in preparing for and delivering training for youth volunteers:
• Peer Justice and Youth Empowerment: An Implementation Guide for Teen Court Programs, Chapter 8
• National Youth Court Guidelines: Chapter 8
• Youth Volunteer Training Package, developed by the American Bar Association. To order call the American Bar Association Service Center at 1-800-
285-2221. Cost for total package is $45 and includes an Instructors Guide, four Student Manuals based on the four primary models of youth courts,
a video, and a CD-ROM that can be used to customize the materials. You also may order components of the Volunteer Training Package separately.
• “Getting the Most Out of the Deliberation Process” lesson. Teaches youth how to deliberate more effective, restorative, and constructive sentences/
dispositions for respondents. Available in several formats:
Video and Facilitator Guide (available in VHS and DVD formats). Contact the Federal Youth Court Program at (775) 784-6715, email:, website:
Getting the Most Out of the Deliberation Process online lesson available on the Federal Youth Court Program website by clicking on the
“Online Training” button on the homepage.
• Street Law for Youth Courts: Educational Workshops. Provides lesson plans for training youth on issues such as impact of crime on victims,
bullying and sexual harassment, possession of alcohol, theft/shoplifting, etc. Download the entire manual or individual lessons by clicking on the
“Publications” button on the Federal Youth Court Program’s homepage.
• “Preparing Your Case.” An online lesson that youth defense and prosecuting attorneys can take to teach them effective strategies for preparing their
cases for youth court hearings (e.g., preparing opening and closing statements, appropriate questions to ask, how to prepare clients, etc.). The lesson is
available on the Federal Youth Court Program’s website by clicking on the “Online Training” button.
• “Web Search: What do our Laws and Policies Say About Underage Drinking.” This online lesson teaches youth about underage drinking and
alcohol-related driving laws, the effects/risks of underage drinking, and programs and laws in their states that are designed to reduce underage
drinking and drinking and driving. There is an optional second part to the lesson that is designed as a classroom lesson and included in the Street
Law for Youth Courts: Educational Workshops publication. You can access the online lesson by clicking on the “Online Training” button on the
Federal Youth Court Program’s homepage.
• Sample Volunteer Training Agenda (available in Word and PDF formats). To access, click on the “Resources” button on the left side of the Federal
Youth Court Program’s homepage, and then click on the Sample Youth Court Forms link.


All youth courts rely on youth and/or adult volunteers to perform court officer roles during the hearing; however the extent to which and the
capacity in which volunteers are used among programs varies. Involving community members in youth court in creative ways can help increase support
and ownership of your program and help reduce the workload of overburdened staff. The donation of volunteers’ time and resources can also help
facilitate better or more effective use of program staff ’s time and potentially decrease some of the operating costs associated with programs. Resources
available to help when examining issues related to organizing and managing volunteers include:
• Peer Justice and Youth Empowerment: An Implementation Guide for Teen Court Programs
Chapter 8
Appendix D contains sample forms including assignment for upcoming trial, jury duty summons, oath of confidentiality, attorney case analysis
form, bailiff ’s record, clerk’s record of hearing, and judge’s hearing notes.
Appendix F contains several sample volunteer resources include sample volunteer job descriptions, a volunteer application, and a volunteer
agreement form.
• National Youth Court Guidelines, Chapter 7
• Sample Youth Court Forms (available in Word and PDF formats).
Code of Conduct for Volunteers
Client Case Information Sheet
Volunteer Case Schedule.
To access, click on the “Resources” button on the left side of the Federal Youth Court Program’s homepage, and then click on the Sample Youth
Court Forms link.
• RFI Responses. There is a section on the Federal Youth Court Program’s website that contains compilations of responses that youth court
coordinators have provided on various questions/issues of concern related to operating a youth court. There are several responses currently posted
that can assist when organizing and managing youth volunteers such as using youth volunteers as peer mentors, using youth volunteers to serve on
youth advisory boards and committees, how youth courts have addressed breaches of confidentiality or instances where youth volunteers have broken
the law, and what youth courts do when volunteers don’t show up for jury duty. To locate these responses, click on the “Resources” button on the
Federal Youth Court Program’s website and then click on the Request for Information Responses link. New topics are added periodically, so this is a
section of the website that you may want to visit often to see if new information has been posted.

Recognize and Retain
Volunteering is a choice. Volunteers choose to work with programs because they want to make a contribution to their community and feel valued. If
they feel their time is being wasted, they will be more likely to move on to another program or activity where they feel valued and can provide meaningful
work. The demand for good volunteers in communities is high and volunteer recruitment is a time-intensive process for program staff. Therefore, youth
courts should make every effort to recognize and retain involvement of good volunteers. Resources available to help recognize and retain volunteers
• Peer Justice and Youth Empowerment: An Implementation Guide for Teen Court Programs, Chapter 8
• National Youth Court Guidelines, Chapter 8
• Scholarships and Awards. Nominate or make your youth volunteers aware of scholarships and awards for which they may be available. The Federal
Youth Court Program website has information on various scholarships and awards aimed at youth who are engaged and involved in their community.
To locate this information, click on the “Resources” button on the Federal Youth Court Program’s homepage and then click on the Scholarships and
Awards link.
• Volunteer Hall of Honor. The Federal Youth Court Program offers youth court directors/coordinators an opportunity to nominate a youth and
adult volunteer for recognition on the Federal Youth Court Program’s website during National Youth Court Month in September of each year. Look
for information on how to nominate volunteers for the Volunteer Hall of Honor in the National Youth Court Month Action Kit and on the Federal
Youth Court Program’s website.
• Sample Volunteer Satisfaction Survey Form (available in Word and PDF formats). To access, click on the “Resources” button on the left side of the
Federal Youth Court Program’s homepage, and then click on the Sample Youth Court Forms link.
• Request for Information Responses. There is a section on the Federal Youth Court Program’s website that contains compilations of responses that
youth court coordinators have provided on various questions/issues of concern related to operating a youth court. There are several responses
currently posted that can assist when recognizing and retaining volunteers including information on strategies that programs have used to increase
volunteer commitment, how youth courts have established scholarships within their programs to award to outstanding volunteers, and programs that
have established agreements with schools to allow youth to receive school credit or community service credit for service in youth court programs. To
locate these responses, click on the “Resources” button on the Federal Youth Court Program’s website and then click on the Request for Information
Responses link. New topics are added periodically, so this is a section of the website that you may want to visit often to see if new information has
been posted.

Whether you use newspapers, television, radio, websites,
or bulletin boards, informing the public about your
youth court program is vital to obtaining and retaining
community support. National Youth Court Month
provides an excellent opportunity to use the media in
telling the story of your youth court program. Some tips
for involving the media include:
• Develop a listing of broadcast, print, and web-based media for or referring agencies. Be sure to send the letter to the editor ten
your jurisdiction. You can find general and specialized media days to two weeks prior to your activity. Call your local paper to
according to region and state at inquire about guidelines on length, deadlines, whether an address
Media/By_Region/. In addition, you could design a database for all and signature are needed, and whether the letter will be edited.
your press lists. Press lists can be categorized by all media, talk shows, Remember, due to space issues, editors will likely choose a few
television shows, print and wire service and radio stations. short letters over one long one.
Send out a Press Release. Press releases tell your story and Write an opinion-editorial, commonly known as an “op-ed.”
should be released prior to the event if you want to provide An op-ed is a more detailed way of expressing your opinion.
information, announce an achievement, or invite the community It is a brief statement that combines the timeliness of a news
to attend a special event. They take time and effort, but getting story with a personal voice. An op-ed should be readable and
your message across clearly to the press can lead to excellent engaging and written by an opinion leader or person with
coverage of your event. It is vital to make telephone or email authority in the community to lend credibility. Opinion leaders
contact with the person who typically writes for the community can include a juvenile judge, school principal, chief of police,
section. By communicating with this person on a regular basis sheriff, chief juvenile probation officer, and other key community
you will increase exposure and community awareness about stakeholders. These statements can influence public opinion and
your program through newspaper and other print publications. are opportunities for the media to show their support of your
Make sure to check local deadlines for submitting press releases. youth court program and National Youth Court Month. You
It is a good idea when sending press releases electronically that should send the op-ed to local newspapers seven to ten days prior
the sender avoid attachments because some organizations have to the event.
firewalls that will block emails with attachments because of Prepare public service announcements (PSA’s) to notify your
potential viruses. Make sure to check with your local media community about National Youth Court Month and the benefits
source. of your local program to the community. Be sure to contact local
Submit a Media Advisory. A media advisory simply informs television and radio stations at least six weeks prior to National
the media of the facts of an event—who, what, when, where, Youth Court Month and ask if they accept PSA’s. Ask about
and why—that is about to happen. A media advisory should be guidelines and their preferred format. While some stations simply
sent one to two weeks prior to your event (four to six weeks in accept PSA scripts that are read by on-air “personalities,” others
advance, if you are submitting your information for a printed ask that a representative from the organization that submits the
calendar of events), and they should be followed by targeted PSA read the script. Be sure to follow any guidelines that radio
telephone calls to the appropriate reporters. The media advisory and television stations provide.
should be no longer than one page in length and should have Submit pre-written articles to community newspapers. Contact
contact information prominently displayed at the top right edge the editors or reporters at community papers at least six weeks
of the paper. A sample media advisory format can be found on before you want an article to appear to find out if they accept pre-
page 13. written articles. If possible, include photographs.
Write a letter to the editor. A letter to the editor appeals to the Secure television and radio coverage. Approach broadcast media
public to support your efforts; it informs the community about just as you would print media. Listen to the shows and become
the local activities of your youth court and the events you have familiar with their formats. Then, send a news release to the
planned to celebrate National Youth Court Month. Letters to the appropriate person at the radio or television station at least four
editor can be written by youth court volunteers, key supporters, weeks in advance.

Download a sample press release and various other media resources from the at In addition, scanned copies of media resources
can be found in the “Resource of the Month” pages.





Visit the Federal Youth Court Program’s website at
• Access Valuable Information: You will regularly find new publications, resources, and information for
developing or enhancing a youth court program.
• Join the Mailing List: You will receive the quarterly newsletter called “In Session,” free publications, and
notifications about upcoming training events.
• Register to Receive the NAYC News: Monthly E-Update: This monthly electronic newsletter
contains timely information in areas such as the availability of training technical assistance, funding opportunities,
publications and resources, and scholarships and awards regarding youth courts and related fields.

Log on Today!
Contact Britney Batz at the National Association of Youth Courts, Inc., corporate office located in
Baltimore, Maryland. Email: 17
Policy Briefs
The American Probation and Parole Association/Council of State Governments (which administered the
former National Youth Court Center, now known as the Federal Youth Court Program) published two Policy Briefs
designed to provide youth courts with a succinct tool they can use to educate their policymakers about the benefits and
characteristics of youth court programs.

Youth Court: A Path to Civic Engagement
By: Sarah S. Pearson (Published in September 2003, 8 pages)

This Policy Brief provides local, state, and federal policymakers with background
information on youth courts, as well as highlights current local and state policy in support of
youth court. It also describes how youth court helps young people learn the value of actively
participating as citizens to help make a difference in their communities.

Policymakers Support Youth Court Growth:
Voices and Recommendations from the Field
By Sarah S. Pearson (Published in 2004, 10 pages)

This Policy Brief provides an overview of perspectives on youth court from local, state, and
national policymakers. Policymakers interviewed for this brief offered thoughtful advice to their
peers considering legislation or other types of support for youth court programs. Information
on the benefits of youth courts and tips for establishing youth courts also are included.

“Youth courts are among the fastest growing and most effective juvenile justice programs

in America.  The National Youth Court Center Policy Briefs provide an invaluable resource to

policymakers at all levels of government who are engaged in the business of serving our young

people and making our communities safer and stronger.  I encourage you to utilize them.”

Michael J. Elmendorf, II
Director of Intergovernmental Affairs for the State of New York
and Special Assistant to Governor George E. Pataki


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The Role of Restorative Justice in
Teen Courts: A Preliminary Look
By: Tracy M. Godwin (Published in 2001; 8 pages)

In March 2000, the American Probation and Parole Association convened a focus group to examine
and discuss the role of restorative justice in teen court programs (also called youth, peer, and student
courts). The panel consisted of persons working actively in teen courts and persons working actively in more
traditional restorative justice based programs. This paper provides a brief overview of restorative justice
principles and addresses several key issues the focus group members identified that serve as a promising
foundation from which teen courts can begin to move toward integrating more restorative justice-based
practices within their programs.

Key issues discussed include how youth courts can:
• Rethink the role of victims and the community within their programs;
• Alter the way that their proceedings and practices are structured; and
• Redefine sentencing options so that they are based on the restorative justice philosophy.

“Applicable to both new teen courts and those already in operation, “The Role

of Restorative Justice in Teen Courts: A Preliminary Look” is an insightful guide for

administrators contemplating how to progress towards a more restorative justice model.

This publication distills the philosophical underpinnings of restorative justice and offers

practical suggestions on how to implement the principles in the day-to-day experiences of

teen courts.  It is also likely to inspire unique solutions and save you weeks of brainstorming!”

Amy Zimmerman, Former Children’s Policy Advisor, IL Attorney General’s Office

Order Today!
Youth Court Volunteer Training Package
By: Margaret E. Fisher (Published in 2001 by the American Bar Association, Division for Public Education)

Based on the National Youth Court Guidelines, these instructional resources for youth court staff offer high-quality materials for training youth court
volunteers. They provide trainers with the opportunity to model the qualities inherent to effective youth courts and to examine some of the universal
moral principles and common codes of behavior that underlie legal systems - honesty, respect, responsibility, and compassion.
The complete training package includes:
• Guide for Trainers with lessons for all youth court models on topics such as the American justice system, balanced and restorative justice, conducting
a hearing and deliberating on a disposition.
• Youth Volunteer Handbooks for adult judge, youth judge, youth tribunal, and peer jury program models.
• Changing Lives: America’s Youth Court, a short video introducing the concept of youth courts.
• CD-ROM to tailor materials to local needs.

The Youth Volunteer Training Package materials may be purchased as a packaged set or individual items can be ordered. Specify Product Code Num-
ber (PC#) when ordering. Discounted rates available for bulk orders on volunteer handbooks.
Full set training package PC# 4970104P......................................................................... $45.00
Guide for Trainers PC# 4970105.........................................................................................$ 6.00
Adult Judge Volunteer Handbook PC# 4970108............................................................$ 3.50
Youth Judge Volunteer Handbook PC# 4970111............................................................$ 3.50 To order, contact:
Peer Jury Volunteer Handbook PC# 4970109..................................................................$ 3.50 American Bar Association
Changing Lives: America’s Youth Court Video PC# 4970106................................... $25.00 Service Center
(800) 285-2221

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W W W . Y O U T H C O U R T . N E T

The NAYC News: Monthly
E-Update is a free monthly
electronic newsletter that contains
timely announcements about
upcoming raining events, funding
opportunities, scholarship and
award opportunities, state and
local youth court news highlights,
and other pertinent information
specific to youth courts and
related fields. The NAYC News:
Monthly E-Update offers an easy
way to access timely and relevant
information about youth courts.
It also demonstrates that the
benefits and power of youth
court extend far beyond the
boundaries of an individual city
or county. Subscribers are able
to see that their program is part
of a much larger network of
youth, teen, peer or student
courts throughout the country.

View past issues of the
NAYC News: Monthly
E-Update online at www.
Update/overview.htm. To
subscribe to the NAYC
News: Monthly E-Update,
go to www.youthcourt.
net and sign up or e-mail

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The Impact of Teen Court
on Young Offenders
By: Jeffrey A. Butts, Janeen Buck, and Mark B. Coggeshall
(Published by the Urban Institute in April 2002; 48 pages)

The Impact of Teen Court on Young Offenders is the final report of findings from the Evaluation of Teen Courts
Project (ETC), which was conducted by the Urban Institute and funded by the Office of Juvenile Justice and
Delinquency Prevention, Office of Justice Programs, U.S. Department of Justice. The ETC Project studied teen
court programs in four jurisdictions: Anchorage Youth Court in Anchorage, Alaska; teen courts operated by the
Arizona Superior Court in Maricopa County, Arizona; Montgomery County Teen Court in Rockville, Maryland;
and Independence Youth Court in Independence, Missouri. More than 500 teen court cases from the four sites were
compared with similar cases handled by the traditional juvenile justice systems in those jurisdictions. The evaluation
collected baseline data about the youth court participants and their parents or guardians, tracked the youth for at least
six months while measuring the extent to which official recidivism differed between the teen court youth and those
processed within the juvenile justice system.

Content of Report
Introduction Data Collection
Teen Courts in the United States Results
The Teen Court Process Interpretation of Results
What Makes Teen Court Effective? Conclusion
Design of the ETC Project References
The Teen Court Programs Appendices
Outcome Comparisons

“One of the most important responsibilities I have as Lansing Teen Court Director is to

raise operating funds. Convincing funding sources that we can have an impact on the

underlying causes of juvenile delinquency and reduce it by educating our youth about the

terrible consequences of making poor choices when it comes to violating our laws involves

demonstrating that our program actually works. When the Urban Institute published their

findings, The Impact Of Teen Court On Young Offenders, it was one more tool to show

funders and community stakeholders that we do make a difference. I got my hands on

as many hard copies of the report and shared it with our funders, judicial officials, mayor,

police departments, school officials and other important community stakeholders as

possible. This study clearly demonstrates that the concept of making our teens part of the

solution through teen court programs, instead of always looking at them as the problem, is

worth the investment.”

Mike Botke, Director
Lansing Teen Court, Lansing, MI

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W W W . Y O U T H C O U R T . N E T
National Youth Court Guidelines
By: Tracy M. Godwin, Michelle E. Heward, and Tom Spina, Jr. (Published in 2000;146 pages)

National Youth Court Guidelines are designed to give youth courts direction for developing and operating effective
programs for the ultimate purpose of increasing program accountability and integrity of the “youth court field.” Each
chapter begins with a brief overview of the guidelines that are recommended for that particular program area. Afterwards,
each guideline is discussed in more detail. A rationale for each guideline, as well as tips for implementing each guideline is
included. At the conclusion of each chapter there is a section that identifies some outcomes youth court programs might
reasonably expect if they adhere to the recommendations made.

Table of Contents
Chapter 1: The Need for National Youth Court Guidelines
Chapter 2: Program Planning and Community Mobilization
Chapter 3: Program Staffing and Funding
Chapter 4: Legal Issues
Chapter 5: Identified Respondent Population and Referral Process
Chapter 6: Program Services and Sentencing Options
Chapter 7: Volunteer Recruitment and Management
Chapter 8: Volunteer Training
Chapter 9: Youth Court Operations and Case Management
Chapter 10: Program Evaluation

“Accountability, effectiveness and integrity are qualities for which all youth courts strive.”

This quote from the National Youth Court Guidelines publication is what we strive for here in

Wisconsin like each and everyone else across the United States. As a teen court coordinator

and state association leader I have used and referenced the National Youth Court

Guidelines countless times to help answer questions and provide guidance for those new to

the youth court movement, in addition to those who need to enhance their existing policies

and programs. I believe this document is a vital, handy, easy to use tool that provides a

point of reference for all youth court coordinators to be sure they are running an effective

local program.”

-Nancy Anne Livingston, Teen Court Coordinator
Vilas County Teen Court, Eagle River, WI

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Street Law for Youth Courts:
Educational Workshops
By: Lena Morreale Scott (Published 2001; Revised 2002; Revised 2006)

Street Law for Youth Courts: Educational Workshops is designed as an information resource for youth courts when
establishing their educational workshops/programs. The lessons are designed to initiate a law-related education program
as a sentencing option for youth court offenders. However, the lessons also may be used to train youth volunteers. These
interactive lessons focus on the most frequent offenses for which youth are referred to youth court such as theft; possession
of alcohol; vandalism; bullying; assault and sexual harassment. The manual include instructor guides, lesson plans, and
handouts for youth participants.

Lessons Featured Resolving Conflict through
Crime and Consequences
Victims of Crime
An Overview of the Juvenile Justice
Serving on a Jury
A Jury of Your Peers: What is the Role of Diversity
Options for Solving Conflicts
in Juries?
Triggers: Skills for Anger Management
What is the Intent of the Law
Who Must Attend School?
Laws are Based on Values
Alcohol, Violence, and Drunk Driving: What Risks
Reducing Underage Drinking:
are You Willing to Take?
What do We Think Works?
Bullying, Assault and Sexual Harassment

“Street Law for Youth Courts is an effective, efficient and relevant teaching tool for

respondents and youth court volunteers. The lessons are designed so that anyone can pick

up the manual and teach a successful lesson with positive results. From icebreaker activities

to preparing to teach the lesson, step-by-step instructions are given in simple layman’s

terms. Activities are designed to insure learner participation and to measure the learner’s

understanding of the lesson. I love the fact that definitions for new terms are included as

part of the lesson. This insures that the teacher as well as the learner will have a working

definition for new terms. The lessons are teacher and learner friendly. As attendance

supervisor, I have used the “Who Must Attend School” and “The Juvenile Justice System”

lessons with truant students. Street Law for Youth Courts should be the basic textbook for

educational classes for respondents and part of training for youth court volunteers“.

Lessie F. Penn, Director
Dorchester School District Two Youth Court, Summerville, SC
and Chairperson, South Carolina Youth Court Association

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W W W . Y O U T H C O U R T . N E T
Giving Back: Introducing Community
Service Learning
Improving Mandated Community Service for Juvenile Offenders
By Charles Degelman, Keri Doggett, and Gregorio Medina (Published in 2002; Revised 2006; 104 pages)

Developed by the Constitutional Rights Foundation in Los Angeles and Chicago through a grant from the OJJDP,
this updated and revised manual gives youth courts and other juvenile-justice agencies the tools they need to apply school-
based service-learning methods to court-mandated community service. Giving Back provides skill-building strategies
and materials to introduce juvenile offenders to basic concepts of community and community problems and offers three
options for planning and implementing community service-learning projects specifically designed to deal with ten offenses
that youth courts and other juvenile-justice agencies most frequently address.

Strategies for Implementing Community Service-Learning
Building Your Own
This project option for planning and implementing community service-learning
projects offers three different project formats:
• Action Projects: Participants and supervisors plan and implement a project designed
to deal with an offense-related or other community problem they think is important.
• Volunteering Projects: Participants volunteer to work at appropriate community
service-agencies, report back on the agency’s effectiveness, and reflect on their
volunteer experience.
• Teach Ins: Participants present an interactive lesson to teach younger children about
topics related to specific offenses.

Done in a Day Projects
These are pre-planned community service-learning projects. In this manual, 20
short-term projects are organized around ten common juvenile offenses and are designed
to require minimal supervision and resources. Done in a Day projects can be assigned to
individuals to complete as mandated service and can involve other participants who are
interested in addressing selected issues. Each can be completed by an individual, pairs, or
small groups working together.

“Incorporating community service in our daily lives provides us with a sense of well being

and an opportunity for personal growth for people of all ages. The Giving Back Manual is

an excellent resource with so many suggested projects that helps us achieve just that. By

using the Giving Back Manual, many of our youth are able to foster an attachment to the

community through the “Done in a Day” constructive projects. One of our favorite projects

is the “Adopt a Cemetery” which can be found under the vandalism section. Through these

meaningful service opportunities, our youth improve the quality of life for so many.”

Violet Colydas, Director
Colonie Youth Court, Latham, NY

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ABA Technical Assistance Bulletins
The American Bar Association (ABA), Division for Public Education publishes Technical Assistance Bulletins
(TABs) that provide concise information on specific topics of interest to law-related educators, school administrators,
teachers, law enforcement, and delinquency prevention professionals.

Since 2000, the ABA has developed and published three TABs on youth court issues.

Youth Court: A National Movement (TA Bulletin #17)
By: Paula Nessel

Published in 2000, this bulletin provides readers with an overview of youth courts, explains
their connection and positive contribution to law-related education, profiles the support of the legal
profession, and provides resources for the creation and enhancement of youth courts.

Need New Cover Making Youth Court as Effective as Possible (TA Bulletin #25)
By: Deborah Williamson and James Wells

Published in 2004, this bulletin is designed to share lessons learned in Kentucky over the last
twelve years about youth courts and what makes them work.

Youth Court Training for Results (TA Bulletin #26)
By: Dale Greenawald

Published in 2004, this technical assistance bulletin provides youth court coordinators and
administrators with introductory information on identifying the type of volunteer training program
needed, developing instructional goals for a training program for youth volunteers, designing a
youth court volunteer training agenda based on learning objectives, making the best possible use
of community resource people in delivering training to the young people, and evaluating a training

To download ABA Technical Assistance Bulletins on a variety of law-related
education topics, go to

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W W W . Y O U T H C O U R T . N E T
Youth cases for youth Courts:
A Guide to the Typical Offenses Handled by Youth Courts
By Margaret E. Fisher (Published in 2006)
This book is an invaluable guide for both new and existing youth courts that are trying to
determine the types of cases their program should accept or that want to expand their referral base.
It begins by discussing how to create and maintain a referral committee and what overall factors
youth courts should consider in making decisions about what cases to accept and reject. Readers
also will find plenty of advice and practical tips from leaders of some of the most successful and
longstanding youth courts across the country. The second section of the Guidebook includes
outlines of 27 offenses commonly accepted by youth courts, and includes information about special
issues youth courts might face with respect to each offense, and tips for creative dispositions.

Offenses Outlined in Section II
Theft/larceny Drug offenses other than marijuana or
Vandalism alcohol
Alcohol offenses Harassment
Disorderly conduct Fraud
Assault (or battery) Burglary
Possession of marijuana False reporting
Curfew violations Loitering
Tobacco offenses Possession of stolen property
School disciplinary cases Possession of a weapon
Traffic violations Reckless endangerment
Truancy Regulatory violations
Trespassing Resisting an officer without violence
Criminal mischief/criminal nuisance Runaways
Possession of drug paraphernalia Unauthorized use of a motor vehicle

“This guidebook will be a valuable resource for youth courts being created,

expanding or perhaps just reviewing their existing program. It thoroughly discusses

the referral process, types of offenses, dispositions and raises some thought provoking

questions when considering if an offense is appropriate for your particular court. It

contains a lot of valuable information and ideas - coordinators most likely will keep it

nearby and refer to it often.”

Judy Wolfe, Supervisor
Syracuse City School District Student Court, Syracuse, NY

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Youth Court: A Community Solution for
Embracing At-Risk Youth –
A National Update
By Sarah S. Pearson and Sonia Jurich (Published in 2005; 32 pages)

Youth court is a rapidly expanding alternative to the juvenile justice system for young people who have committed
non-violent offenses, growing from 78 programs in 1994 to 1,035 in March 2005. The American Youth Policy Forum,
with support from the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention and the National Youth Court Center
conducted a nationwide review of youth court programs between November 2004 and January 2005. A total of 365
youth court coordinators from across the United States participated in the study. This report reflects the study findings
and is a great resource for providing policymakers and the public with an overview of youth court programs including
their characteristics and benefits. Some of the national data featured includes youth served, who benefits from youth
courts’ existence, recidivism, and average operating costs.

Contents of Report
Executive Summary Program Benefits/Impact
Introduction Reducing the Backlog in the
Overview Juvenile Justice System
What are Youth Courts? Providing Youth with Educational
Where are Youth Courts Located? and Civic Opportunities
Whom do they Serve? Helping Communities
Youth Offenders Program Sustainability
Youth Volunteers Conclusion and Recommendations
How do Youth Courts Operate Recommendations
Looking at Results A Path to Civic Engagement
Program Completion References
Estimating Costs Appendix A: Study Methodology

“Publications—specifically Youth Court: A Community Solution for Embracing At-Risk

Youth – are vital to operating a teen court that is dependent on public grants and private

foundation grants. In order to validate teen courts, the administrator often is required to

provide statistics that show the program’s effectiveness. Success stories are always special;

however, we operate in a “bottom line” society. Local results are good, state results are also

beneficial, but when trying to express effectiveness to legislators and funding agencies you

need national numbers. That is why reports such as this are so essential. I have provided a

copy of the Youth Court: A Community Solution for Embracing At-Risk Youth publication to

my City Council, County Commissioners, State Representative, State Senator, and my U.S.

Representative for the sole purpose of cementing the idea of youth courts and our level of

effectiveness as a juvenile diversionary program.”

Myra Weeks, Coordinator
Wichita County Teen Court, Wichita Falls, TX

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W W W . Y O U T H C O U R T . N E T
Peer Justice and Youth
Empowerment: An Implementation
Guide for Teen Court Programs
By: Tracy M. Godwin, David J. Steinhart, and Betsy Fulton (Published in 1996; revised in 1998; 176
pages, plus appendices)

The American Probation and Parole Association developed Peer Justice and Youth Empowerment:
An Implementation Guide for Teen Court Programs to provide program organizers with baseline
information on developing, implementing, and enhancing teen court programs within their
jurisdictions. Rather than endorsing one particular model of teen court, this manual provides program
organizers and potential stakeholders with a general overview of issues to consider and guides them
through a decision making process for the implementation of a teen court program that fits local needs.
Sample forms and other helpful resources are also included as supplemental materials.

Table of Contents
Chapter 1: An Overview of the Teen Court Concept
Chapter 2: Organizing the Community
Chapter 3: Legal Issues for Teen Courts
Chapter 4: Developing a Program Purpose, Goals, and Objectives
Chapter 5: Determining a Target Population and Designing a Referral Process
Chapter 6: Designing Program Services
Chapter 7: Developing a Program Model and Procedures and Implementing
Effective Case Management Practices
Chapter 8: Recruiting, Using and Training Volunteers
Chapter 9: Examining Human and Financial Resource Issues
Chapter 10: Program Evaluation
Appendix A: Teen Court Directory
Appendix B: Sample Resources for Program Development and Implementation
Appendix C: Sample Teen Court Program Brochures
Appendix D: Sample Forms
Appendix E: Sample Courtroom Protocol
Appendix F: Sample Volunteer Resources
Appendix G: Sample Program Evaluation Resources

“Peer Justice and Youth Empowerment: An Implementation Guide for Teen Court Programs is

crucial to the success of not only our existing programs, but especially to new programs and

those in development.  We regularly refer to the guide for details on everything from how to

achieve outcomes to development of forms and brochures.  It is, simply, THE guide on how to

move your teen court forward in your community.”

Greg Puckett, Director
West Virginia Teen Court Association,

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W W W . Y O U T H C O U R T . N E T
Selected Topics on Youth Court:
A Monograph
Editor: Tracy Godwin Mullins (Published in 2004, 118 pages)
This monograph features papers on the following six topics.

Addressing Truancy in Youth Court Programs
By: Ramona Gonzales and Tracy Godwin Mullins (24 pages)
In June 2003, a focus group convened to examine the problem of truancy and identify effective
strategies that youth courts can utilize when accepting truancy referrals. This paper is based on the
focus group members discussions, as well as on research and promising practices related to truancy
reduction. Specifically, this paper provides an overview of the scope of the problem of truancy, benefits
for addressing truancy in youth courts, effective strategies to implement when working with truants,
and possible benchmarks for youth courts to use when measuring success in truancy reduction efforts.

Underage Drinking and Other Substance Abuse: Opportunities for Prevention
and Intervention by Youth Courts
By: Tracy Godwin Mullins (14 pages)
This paper discusses strategies that youth courts can employ to work more effectively with
young people referred to the program on alcohol-related cases and to enhance the youth courts’ role
as a partner in a community’s comprehensive approach to combating underage drinking and other
substance use and abuse.

An Overview of School-Based Youth Court Program Design Options
By: Mistene Vickers (22 pages)
The author interviewed program staff from several communities operating school-based youth
courts in middle and high school settings. This paper discusses the structure of school-based programs
as depicted in those interviews and provides suggestions for individuals who are interested in
implementing a school-based youth court program in their community.

Building Culturally Relevant Youth Courts in Tribal Communities
By: Ada Pecos Melton (26 pages)
The purpose of this paper is to provide readers with a brief background of tribal justice systems
and to provide an overview of some of the unique issues to consider to aid in the development and
implementation of culturally relevant youth courts in American Indian and Alaska Native communities.

A Comparison of Statewide Youth Court Associations and Networking Groups
By: Tracy Godwin Mullins and Karen L. Dunlap (12 pages)
The authors interviewed representatives from state youth court associations and networking
groups to determine their purpose, organizational structure, and activities. Advantages to and
challenges encountered by state associations and networking groups were also discussed. The purpose
of this paper is to share the “lessons learned” from existing state-level youth court groups and to provide
information to youth courts interested in forming a state-level association or networking group.

Media Access Guidelines for Youth Courts
By: Michelle E. Heward (11 pages)
Media and/or “public” access to youth courts presents interesting issues for programs to consider.
As a supplement to the National Youth Court Guidelines, this paper is intended to assist youth courts
in balancing competing interests of offenders, victims, the youth court, and the public and give them a
framework within which to make sound policy related to media access.

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W W W . Y O U T H C O U R T . N E T
National Association of Youth Courts, Inc.
345 North Charles Street, 2nd Floor, Baltimore, Maryland 21201
Phone and Fax: Still in progress, please check back at