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WHAT IS THE PHILADELPHIA POLICE SCHOOL DIVERSION PROGRAM?

In May 2014, the Philadelphia Police Department partnered with the City’s Department of Human Services and the School District of Philadelphia (SDP) to implement the Police School Diversion Program. The Police School Diversion Program’s goal is to create alternatives to arrests for eligible youth by recognizing and addressing their needs with trauma-informed and developmentally approaches to improve short and long-term outcomes for them, their families and our communities. The program provides opportunities for qualifying students to avoid arrest for minor offenses and instead access prevention services that meet their underlying needs. By providing much-needed intervention services to students—and, crucially, their parents or caregivers—when they first get into trouble, the Police School Diversion Program has the potential to keep youth in school, prevent further disruptions, and create a more peaceful school environment.

The Philadelphia Police School Diversion Program’s Core Beliefs:

  • We believe the school to prison pipeline is destroying the futures of our children and it must be dismantled.
  • We believe zero tolerance policies do not make schools, children, or teachers safer.
  • We believe a second chance, not an arrest, is the best option to improve the academic, social, and well-being of our young people.
  • We believe a cross systems, community-based and trauma-centered approach is optimal for meeting young people’s needs.
WHO CAN PARTICIPATE?

The Police School Diversion Program is open to students who:

 

  1. Are at least ten years old
  2. Have committed a low-level summary or misdemeanor offense, such as marijuana possession, fighting, disorderly conduct, graffiti, bullying, or possession of certain items that could be used as weapons
  3. Have not been previously arrested or diverted

 

Participation in the Police School Diversion Program is not available to students who have engaged in high-level offenses, such as drug dealing, gun possession, sexual assault, or arson.

WHAT SERVICES ARE PROVIDED TO DIVERTED YOUTH AND THEIR FAMILIES?

Information and referral services may include:

  • Food Assistance
  • Housing Assistance
  • Medical Care/Health Screening
  • Immunization
  • HIV/AIDS Screening
  • Counseling (family, individual, group)
  • Adult Continuing Education
  • Job Readiness/Training
  • Utilities Assistance
  • Health Insurance
  • Well-Baby Care
  • Lead Poisoning Testing
  • Substance Abuse Counseling
  • Mental Health/Mental Retardation Services
  • Literacy Enhancement
  • Legal Aid
  • Tutoring