Reference Desk Include

Diversion program helps Northville’s youth steer away from problem behaviors

Sue Campbell holds plush ball
Sue Campbell holds one of the tools using in the diversion program – a plush ball that has subjects and statements that kids can talk about.
So many of us have been there as teens: getting in trouble with parents, teachers or the law due to bad choices. Whether that trouble involves underage drinking, illegal drugs, shoplifting, or smoking cigarettes, many teens are enticed by the allure of these risky behaviors. If left to their own instincts and peer pressure, troubled teens may cling to behaviors that negatively impact their lives and family well-being.

Fortunately, there is help through the Northville Youth Assistance (NYA) program. The agency offers free services to teens under age 18 who are residents of Northville (city or township) or live within the boundaries of the Northville Public School District.

One of the top services offered through NYA is its Diversion program, which consists of individual one-hour, weekly sessions for six weeks. At that time, the teen and a counselor discuss the offense and strategies for making better decisions. Parents participate in at least two sessions with their child. The sessions are followed by monthly check-in appointments for up to six months. Teens also perform an average 12 hours of community service.

Survey draws high marks among parents of troubled teens

In Fall 2016, a report was released based on a first-time survey of parents of children who enrolled in the diversion program over the past three years. The survey gave high marks to NYA, saying the program made a difference in many ways.

During the survey period, of 57 youths referred to the program, 49 completed it successfully. All of the survey respondents said the program addressed their concerns as a parent, concurred that community service is a valuable component, and confirmed that their teen has not repeated the behavior that landed them in the program.

One of the parents noted that the Diversion program gave her teenager an outlet to talk to someone other than a parent or friend and their discussion lead to making better choices. Another said, "I think having another respected adult to reinforce family and community values is helpful." Another noted, “[The social worker] was awesome. She respects the kids and they, as a result, feel heard and cared for."

For more information about this program, please contact Sue Campbell at 248.344.1618.

Visit the Youth Assistance section of our website.



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