Mahoning County program discourages bullying [WFMJ, 29/08/2014]

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio –

Mahoning County now has a program designed to keep children from growing up to become bullies.

Mahoning County juvenile authorities and the county prosecutor have implemented the Cyber and Relational Diversion Program (C.A.R.D.) to address the personal, emotional and legal consequences of inappropriate behaviors with teens and their parents

Judge Theresa Dellick says the program is an effort to proactively respond to the growing problems associated with the increased incidences of teen sexting, cyber-bullying and sexual harassment.

Judge Dellick is encouraging Mahoning County parents, school systems and law enforcement to consider the Court’s Cyber and Relational Diversion Program as a primary prevention tool to divert and intervene early to prevent potential legal ramifications as well as prevent the emotional and physical victimization of others.

Assistant County Prosecutor for the Juvenile Division, Anissa Modarelli says, “Parents are often not aware of recently enacted laws and the serious consequences inappropriate behaviors present. While parents may have a tendency to dismiss them as normal teenage behavior, our experience and legal system are not as forgiving and is compelled to protect victims and society.”

The diversion program was developed and is facilitated by licensed counselors. Mahoning County youth, ages 12-17, are eligible for the program and can be referred by the court, parents/guardians, schools, community groups, and law enforcement.

Youth currently on supervision or probation or who are currently being held in detention are not eligible for the program. Parental or guardian involvement is required and completion of the program includes participation in a 5 week series of classes and workshops by the child. All potential candidates will be screened for eligibility.