How do the hearings work?
Upon completion of the intake and screening, youth are assigned a hearing date and a youth advocate, who will represent them during the hearing process. The victim and community will also be represented by youth advocates during the hearing.
Each advocate will meet at least once with the person(s) they represent to prepare for the Restorative Questions. Each will have an opportunity to speak about the incident, its impact, and what may be done in order to repair the harm and move forward constructively. The Restorative Questions are used to structure the dialogue.
The three advocates and the people they represent will present their views to a the youth facilitators. The facilitators consider and compile recommendations from each party and to create an agreement (disposition) based on the four goals of Maine Youth Court:
1) Repair the harm done
2) Increase the respondent’s skills, knowledge, and resources
3) Increase the respondent’s connection in the community
4) Build on and build up the strengths of the respondent
Youth then have three months in which to complete the items on their Repair Agreement, which may be to issue a letter of acknowledgement, participate in counseling, complete volunteer work, and/or engage in prosocial activities in their communities.
Youth who screen positive on the AC-OK brief screening tool during intake may additionally be required to undergo a substance abuse assessment, and follow any clinical recommendations made. These recommendations may include treatment or risk reduction education. Youth Court provides financial assistance and referrals to mental health agencies and/or private practice when needed. We aim to help connect youth and families to services in the community when they are needed.