Youth Conflict Resolution and Restorative Practices Program
The MA Youth Conflict Resolution & Restorative Practices Program (Youth Program), established in 2018, is administered by MOPC in partnership with qualified Community Mediation Centers from regions across the state. Funding for the program is appropriated annually through the state budget. The program's goal is to reduce youth violence through a positive youth development approach that cultivates youth as contributors to their families, neighborhoods, and communities.
The projects funded through the Youth Program seek to improve school climate, community health, community safety, and family and community engagement by leveraging the experience and expertise of the CMCs in multiple domains like schools, neighborhoods, and courts, and by systematically gathering evidence of program implementation and impact through evaluation, with investments from community partners, sponsors, and funders to ensure sustainable youth programming throughout Massachusetts.
The Youth Program designs and invests in youth projects and initiatives that encompass the following Youth Program Principles:
- Provide direct services to youth with some adult involvement and planning.
- Define youth as assets and build upon the skills, strengths, and positive characteristics of young people.
- Provide opportunities for youth to build a sense of competency, usefulness, belonging, and power.
- Elevate the role of young people as solutions-providers to their own problems and those of their communities and society as a whole.
- Help define issues affecting youth; identify risk and protective factors; develop and test prevention strategies like violence prevention; and ensure replication and widespread adoption of effective practices.
- Elevate the voices of marginalized youth in shaping the policies, programming and services that affect them.
- Are supported by evidence and informed by culturally responsive practice that has the potential to enhance the greater public good.
- Promote intentional dialogue and reflection between youth and adults.
- Engage youth and adults who receive benefits in performing evaluation activities and shaping evaluation findings.
- Help develop new and/or expanded youth policies, practices and/or programming.
Youth Project Criteria
Youth Program grants are awarded to community mediation centers who have a clearly defined project tied to a center-based youth program, committed partner(s), a funding plan that includes a required 50% match and ability to undertake data collection and evaluation with MOPC.
Youth projects must include at least one or more of the following methods:
- peer mediation
- youth violence prevention
- conflict resolution skill-building
- restorative justice processes
- restorative practices
- conflict coaching
- juvenile diversion
- re-entry mediation
- conflict transformation through art, photography, storytelling, etc.
Grant-funded projects aligning with Youth Principles must aim to build knowledge and skills of youth (as mediators, trainers, intervenors, circle keepers, conflict coaches, facilitators etc.) and/or build infrastructure to support supporting youth in these roles. Priority is given to projects seeking to enhance or scale-up existing initiatives, projects involving marginalized and at-risk youth, and youth services, courts and/or law enforcement partner agencies, and projects that have the potential for broad social impact and replication.
Evaluation & Research
MOPC and participating community mediation centers engage in a collaborative learning community and work together in gathering and analyzing program data for evaluation and research to inform program implementation, development, public accountability, and fundraising. (For more information see MOPC website Research & Evaluation page [link].)
Courtney Breese, Program Manager, firstname.lastname@example.org or 617-287-4046
Connect with participating community mediation centers:
- Berkshire County Regional Housing Authority: https://bcrha.com
- Cape Cod Dispute Resolution Center: https://capemediation.org
- Collaborative Resolutions Group: www.collaborativeresolutionsgroup.org
- Community Dispute Settlement Center: www.communitydispute.org
- Middlesex Community College Law Center: https://www.middlesex.mass.edu/lawcenter/mediation.aspx
- Mediation Services of North Central MA: https://mediationncm.org
- Metropolitan Mediation Services: https://www.brooklinecenter.org/services/metropolitan-mediation-services/
- Martha's Vineyard Mediation Program: www.mvmediation.org
- MetroWest Mediation Services: www.metrowestmediationservices.org
- The Resolution Center: www.resolutionnorthshore.org
For more information on the MA network of Community Mediation Centers see the Resolution Massachusetts website: https://www.resolutionma.org