Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Youth Aid Panels Successful but Need Volunteers

During a short and routine Lancaster County Commissioners Work Session Meeting on Tuesday, Assistant District Attorney Monica Mosely remarked about the difficulty in enlisting volunteers from the City and Lancaster Township to serve on the Youth Aid Panels.

Panels meet with juveniles who have committed a first time, non-violent offense as a part of a program whereby offenders can perform public service to make amends, thus avoiding a criminal record. Mosley indicated that the recidivism rate is very low, which indicates a very successful program.

Mosley said persons who speak the language of the juvenile are especially needed.

Panelists receive several week of training and commit to remain for at least a year. Mosley indicated many volunteers remain for years.

Mosely mentioned that three of the city's major churches have not responded to requests to help find community volunteers. Nor have they mentioned the current need in their church newsletters.

Mosley appeared at the work session to submit a budget adjustment concerning the youth aid programs. She indicated the county is generally well covered, but a need for five panels in the City and Lancaster Township has not been met.