SCHENECTADY — Schenectady has been selected as one of three cities statewide to receive federal funding for a new juvenile delinquency prevention pilot program.
Gov. Kathy Hochul announced on Jan. 13 that police departments in Schenectady, Buffalo and Yonkers will each receive $514,000 over the next five years to formulate pre-arrest diversion programs for juveniles who are at risk of becoming entangled with the criminal justice system.
The Schenectady Police Department will work with the state Division of Criminal Justice Services Office of Youth Justice (DCJS) to craft pre-arrest diversion and trust-building programming designed to reach youth who encounter law enforcement most frequently in those communities, including homeless and runaway youth and minority children.
“The Schenectady Police Department is honored to be provided the opportunity to collaborate with the Office of Youth Justice to provide alternatives to arrest for justice-involved youth,” Schenectady Police Chief Eric Clifford noted in a press release. “We recognize that our future depends on the youth of our community, and those that make mistakes should know that their future will not be guided by that mistake, but in their potential. Thank you, Governor Hochul and [Division of Criminal Justice Services] Commissioner Rossana Rosado, for trusting Schenectady to be amongst the leaders for this very important program.”
New York was one of seven states to successfully apply for the federal grant, with the DCJS Office of Youth Justice utilizing data related to arrests, poverty, and runaway youth statistics to identify potential municipalities to host the pilot program.
Under the state’s current diversion process, after a juvenile is arrested, the case is sent to a probation department, where the determination is made whether the case will proceed to Family Court or will be diverted, where juveniles are provided with age-appropriate alternatives and services.
Through the federal grant, Office of Youth Justice staff will help identify services currently available to homeless and runaway youth in Schenectady and examine solutions for at-risk youth by identifying programming and service needs for those individuals.