The Juvenile Diversion Guidebook explores diversion for youth involved with the juvenile justice system. A brief overview on diversion and the history of adult diversion is touched upon before diving into current research on youth diversion.

This document lays out the steps for developing and improving juvenile diversion programs. Details such as oversight, intake criteria, operation policies, legal protections, and quality control are touched upon to help give a blueprint for professionals to follow in implementing their own diversion programs in juvenile justice settings. While there is no one roadmap for creating a juvenile diversion program, this Guidebook provides the needed guidance and direction to communities and motivates planners to think about the important questions to ask and the various options to consider when structuring or improving on a diversion program or process.

The National Center for Youth Opportunity and Justice (NCYOJ) originally developed and maintained this resource. The NCYOJ was operated by Policy Research, Inc. and operated from 2001 to 2022 and was formerly known as the National Center for Mental Health and Juvenile Justice. The NCYOJ improved life opportunities for youth through systems and practice improvement initiatives.

This resource should be viewed as a reference document. It has not been updated since its publication. In addition, this document has not been made 508 compliant. If you would like a 508 compliant version of this document, please email

This resource was first shared in 2011.

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