Serving at-risk kids throughout the Seacoast and state of New Hampshire, The Chase Home is in favor of SB – 294, legislation developed by Senator Guida that supports accredited Juvenile Court Diversion programs.
Providing evidence-based support and services to first-time juvenile offenders rather than placing them in the traditional Juvenile Justice System, these programs lost Incentive Funds in 2011.
“We support this legislation because diversion is critically needed in this state,” said The Chase Home Executive Director Meme Wheeler, who noted their recently accredited program is nearly at full capacity.
“Research supports the effectiveness of diversion, and data bears that out,” she added.
According to a recent study of 444 youth who went through a diversion program in New Hampshire, 79.3% were arrest-free one year later with 58.7% arrest-free after three years. Both percentages are substantially better than traditional juvenile justice measures, which are 20.7% and 41.3%, respectively.
Currently, there are 21 accredited juvenile court diversion programs in NH, which serve upwards of 700 youth per year arrested for a first-time offense. These programs are administered by the NH Juvenile Court Diversion Network.
“Some diversion programs are supported by county governments, city police departments, or city offices of youth services, but the majority offer diversion as struggling non-profits,” said Nicole Rodler, Network board chair. “We need this legislation to be approved and implemented.”
Founded in 1877, The Chase Home in Portsmouth is one of the oldest nonprofits in New Hampshire, serving more than 140 at-risk youth and families annually statewide through prevention, early intervention, residential and community-based programs.