Youth Aid Program
Y.A.P. Youth Aid Panel of Lower Southampton is a diversion program for first time juvenile offenders. This program is supervised by Bucks County Juvenile Probation.
When a juvenile commits a criminal offense for the first time, the arresting police officer has two options: The juvenile offender can be formally charged and referred to court, or the juvenile can be referred to the police department’s youth aid panel.
For most non-violent, first-time offenders, youth aid is a better option. To be eligible for acceptance into a youth aid panel, the juvenile must not dispute his/her involvement in the offense. The arresting police department and the juvenile offender's parents must also agree that youth aid is the best choice.
The youth aid panels are staffed with community volunteers. Lower Southampton have 4 panel members. A police officer is assigned to this panel and acts as a liaison between the police department and the panel.
The panel’s job is to interview the juvenile and the parent(s) to determine an appropriate course of action that will benefit the victim, community, and juvenile. The panel will assign obligations, just as the courts would. Some of the most common obligations are: Community service, letters of apology, drug and alcohol services, and writing/research assignments.