Alternative Diversion Programs for Youth
It can often be difficult for young people to understand the full consequences of their actions. In certain situations, one bad decision can negatively impact the life of a minor for years to come. This is why the Oklahoma Association of Youth Services developed the First-Time Offender Program, which is meant to help at-risk youth develop life skills and avoid future run-ins with the law.
In Oklahoma County, the First-Time Offender Program is called the Skills Education Program, or SEP. It is administered by Youth Services for Oklahoma County.
The Skills Education Program is a 16-hour course that requires participation by the young person as well as his or her parent or guardian. The program’s curriculum is meant to help develop skills in anger management, conflict resolution and communication.
The program also includes an individual assessment that can help identify other services or interventions that may be needed, such as:
- Individual, family or group therapy
- Cognitive behavioral therapy
- Other rehabilitative services
As its name implies, the First-Time Offender Program is open to youth who have been arrested for the first time as well as other at-risk minors who may be exhibiting behavioral issues at home or school.
The program is geared for youth between the ages of 13 and 18, though it may be modified for younger ages in certain situations.
Other Options and Programs
Depending on the situation, a minor may have committed a misdemeanor or status offense that does not necessarily warrant participation in the Skills Education Program. In these cases, the Community Intervention Center (CIC) may be more appropriate.
The CIC is a 24-hour intervention program that, like the Skills Education Program, can help connect the youth and his or her family to appropriate services.
If you are the parent or guardian of a minor who has been arrested, we can help guide you to appropriate services and programs.