Youth Diversion Programs

Youth in conflict with the law are dealt with under the federal legislation called the Youth Criminal Justice Act (YCJA).

The YCJA deals with youth between the ages of 12 to 17 years of age and provides an alternative for youth incarceration. Youths receive counseling and education while providing restitution to the victim, instead of the normal criminal court process.  This option is available to youth that have minimal involvement with the police provided the offence is a non-violent. Examples include shoplifting and minor damage to property.
The youth services section of the Chatham Kent Police Service consists of the Youth Coordinator, Constable Bryon Martin, who monitors youth investigations and diverts youth (when appropriate) to agencies such as Chatham-Kent Children Services, Mental Health Addictions Program, Restorative Justice Chatham-Kent, Walpole Island New Directions and Western Area Youth Services.
School Liaison Officers
Forty dedicated uniformed officers that are assigned to general patrol assist youth services by partnering with ten secondary schools in Chatham-Kent. Together they work with the school community ensuring the safety of our schools and building relationships with our youth.  
Community Youth Agencies
Agencies involved in providing youth diversions:
Chatham-Kent Childrens Services
Mental Health Addictions Program
Restorative Justice Chatham-Kent
Walpole Island New Directions
Western Area Youth Service
The Mission of Chatham-Kent Children’s Services is to work with our community to strengthen families and promote the well being and safety of children and youth. Services offered include: Child Protective Services(Children's Aid Society), Children's Mental Health Services and Child Development and Prevention Services. As an amalgamated agency, we base our services on these facts: a continuum of integrated services in a multidisciplinary setting provides the greatest flexibility of quality services to meet the individual needs of children and their families; easier access to service through a reduced number of access points is provided by a single point of access; early response to young children and their families who are at risk is crucial; with limited resources for those in need of intervention services, the system must ensure that those most at risk will receive essential supports; customized services are provided through the use of the single service contract to ensure that individuals will receive services that respond to their needs.   Phone: (519)352-0440   Website:
The mission of Restorative Justice Chatham-Kent is to involve victims, offenders, and the community in restoring broken relationships. Restorative Justice Chatham-Kent (RJCK) is an incorporated non-profit organization that offers an alternative to the traditional criminal justice system for youth aged 12 - 17. We aim to repair the community relationships that are damaged when a crime is committed. Instead of simply punishing and labelling young people who have committed crimes, RJCK gives them the opportunity to take responsibility for their behaviour, understand the full impact of their actions on others, and repair the harm done to their victims and the community as a whole.
Bkejwanong Territory, Walpole Island First Nation, has two diversion programs for youth at risk of criminal activity. The Ministry of Children and Youth Services funds Enodmaagejig Social Services to provide New Directions, an after-school program offered to elementary and high school age youth at risk of criminal activity. New Directions’ purpose is to provide culturally specific programming in a variety of appropriate, behaviour-changing, educational activities and support services that engage youth ages 10 – 17 who are at risk of criminal activity or re-offending.  The program strives to empower youth to plan and direct their lives away from criminal activity by identifying and building on their strengths and skills. Referrals are made by police, school officials, service providers, and parents for youth age 10-17 who are at risk of criminal activity. Service providers have forms to complete on hand to make the referral. 
Enodmaagejig Social Services also has Naaknigewnan, the Restorative Justice Project. Naaknigewnan are the Natural Laws that the Creator gave Anishinaabeg to guide us toward peace, healing, harmony and balance in the world and with others. Through remembering and reclaiming Naaknigewnan, we can live our lives as our ancestors did – with justice based on kindness, honesty, sharing and strength. Restorative Justice fits with Naaknigewnan as it is an approach to justice that focuses on repairing the harm caused by the young person while holding them responsible for their actions, by providing an opportunity for healing of the victim, the young person, and members of the community in the aftermath of an incident.. We currently have 16 community members trained as Restorative Justice Facilitators. Referrals are made by police, school officials, and the Courts, through our Youth Diversion Protocol with the Sarnia Provincial Crown Attorney’s office.
For more information on either of these two programs, contact Enodmaagejig Social Services at 519-627-3907.

Extrajudicial Measures is a community-based program for youth aged 12 to 17. These youth are provided an opportunity to attend groups or individual learning programs that are designed to target criminogenic factors, thereby reducing their risk for further involvement in the judicial system. This program is one of the options police can consider when dealing with youth in trouble with the law. Pre-charge status is a requirement for participation in this diversion program. 


Western Area Youth Services, located at 740 Richmond Street, Chatham, provides an effective, efficient, economical alternative for young persons in conflict with the law. A primary objective of this program is to reduce recidivism. Referrals are made to other supportive service available in our community. The curriculum will be based on cognitive-behavioural principles and interventions and will include clearly-defined expectations, generalized information and offence-specific interventions with a focus on reducing recidivism.







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