Youth Aid Panel Program

The District Attorney's Youth Aid Panel program (YAP) promotes restorative justice, representing an innovative approach by law enforcement toward juvenile offenders. The program provides a second chance for non-violent juveniles who have committed a criminal offense, establishing local panels that encourage them to accept responsibility for their actions, while raising community awareness and involvement. Each local YAP links juvenile offenders with law enforcement agencies, public resources and trained volunteer community panelists to effectively deter future criminal behavior.
The District Attorney’s Office currently supports and manages Youth Aid Panels throughout all areas of Montgomery County. Every school district is represented by at least one panel. Each year, 500-600 juveniles are admitted into the Youth Aid Program and given a second chance at becoming productive citizens.
The program has proven highly effective by preventing additional crime with a recidivism rate of just 4.3% since the program began in 2000. 

How Youth Aid Panels Work
Serving as an alternative to either Juvenile Court or Magisterial District Court, only those juveniles who admit their involvement in an eligible summary or misdemeanor offense are offered the chance to participate in YAP. Juveniles must also pass a screening process, receive approval from the Police Department and admit their involvement in the underlying criminal offense.
After reviewing case details, the YAP decides what type of conditions are appropriate to resolve the matter and hold that particular juvenile accountable for his/her criminal actions. The offender and his/her parents or guardians meet with the panel and sign a contract that includes the specific terms decided upon by the panel. Conditions such as completing educational requirements, doing community-based service work, making restitution payments, writing letters of apology and participating in the Victim Offender Conferencing program are often included. Panel members monitor all aspects of offender compliance and ultimately determine whether the program has been successfully completed, allowing the juvenile to avoid a criminal record.

Youth Aid Panel Community Benefits
  • Volunteers get a sense of satisfaction by helping juveniles during their rehabilitation.
  • Juveniles who successfully complete the program avoid having a criminal record and learn personal responsibility.
  • Victims have input regarding the resolution and are provided the opportunity to directly address the harm they suffered.
  • No burden upon taxpayers, since the program is independently funded by the District Attorney’s Office.
  • Saves substantial costs by eliminating Juvenile Court proceedings.
  • All participants become more aware of community resources and needs related to juveniles.