The program is an alternative to formal processing in the juvenile justice system. The overall goal is to reduce the number of youths entering the juvenile justice system, while also reducing recidivism. The program is rated Promising. Youths in the treatment group who participated in the diversion program had statistically significantly fewer rearrests, compared with youths in the comparison group who did not participate in the intervention.

A Promising rating implies that implementing the program may result in the intended outcome(s).

Program Goals

The Early Intervention Diversion Program (EIDP) is a diversion program run by the Los Angeles County (Calif.) Probation Department that provides an alternative to formal processing in the juvenile justice system for juveniles after they have committed their first offense. By providing intensive case management and coordinated services to youths and their families, the overall goal of EIDP is to reduce the number of youths entering the juvenile justice system, while also reducing recidivism.
Target Population

EIDP targets nondetained youths (ages 12 to 17) with first-time offenses who are enrolled in middle school, junior high, or high school and who fall under Welfare and Institutions Code (WIC) Sections 652 and 653.5 of the California Code. Youths who fall under WIC section 602 are also eligible, but the program is generally limited to youths with first-time offenses.

Program Components

Individuals who participate in EIDP are those who were diverted from system processing through informal probation diversion. This type of probation occurs either 1) when prebooking diversion (i.e., initial contact with law enforcement) failed, 2) the agency does not have a prebooking diversion program, or 3) the youth was arrested for multiple misdemeanor or status offenses. Individuals who qualify for informal probation are supervised for 6 months and are encouraged to participate in EIDP.

The EIDP begins with an in-home psychosocial assessment conducted by an individual from the Department of Mental Health. The assessment is conducted to identify mental health and substance use needs, physical health issues, learning disabilities, or other family-related issues. This assessment concludes with a meeting (between the youth, their family members, and a multidisciplinary team) to develop a case plan that outlines specific goals and services. The case plan then becomes a formal agreement that is signed by both the youth and their family members.

With the case plan in place, the case manager (the Deputy Probation Officer) connects the youth and their family to services. The Deputy Probation Officer continues to interact with the youth and their family to ensure they are working toward their outlined goals and determine whether any additional services are needed.

To successfully complete the program, participants must engage in services and work toward their goals by the end of the informal probation period. If successful, the individuals have their cases closed. Those who do not successfully complete the program may have their cases referred to the district attorney or have their informal probation period extended for an additional 3 months. After the 3 months, if the individual is still unsuccessful, their case is referred to the district attorney if it meets the requirements for referral.