National Association of Youth Courts
Did you know that there is a National Association of Youth Courts? I didn’t, but there is . It consists of local youth courts, teen courts, student courts and peer courts across America. September 2007 is designated National Youth Court Month and Katie Self of Sarasota, Florida is this year’s Honorary Chairperson. An extraordinary group of 76 individuals have joined together to establish the first ever private national association to represent youth courts.
Ms. Katie Self is the 2007 National Chairperson. She is the first President of the 22 member board of trustees of the National Association of Youth Courts, Inc. The association has an impressive list of Sponsoring Agencies: the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the Office of Safe and Drug-free Schools, Phi Alpha Delta Law Fraternity Public Service Center and the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges.
This local grass-roots movement continues. There are now 49 states and the District of Columbia which have an operational local youth court program. 21, a record number of states that have formal and informal State Youth Court and Teen Court Associations and Networking Groups. There are now 1,301, a record number of local youth court, teen court, peer court student court programs in the United States of 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 for the number who are involved with these programs.
As they begin to develop one of these programs, they will find an abundance of materials that have been developed to aid and guide them. Foremost is a planning checklist; tips for involving the media; suggested local activities; a plan to Recruit, Train, Organize, Recognize and Retain Volunteers [R-TORR].There are also some sample forms: a Sample Press Release; A Sample Letter Requesting a Proclamation or Resolution and a Sample Form Announcing Youth Court Month.
There are also several policy briefs and a publication, NAYC NEWS: Monthly E-Update. For those interested in Youth Courts who want to know more about the National Association of Youth Courts, Inc. they are welcome to visit the Program’s web site at www.youthcourt.net.