The Youth Development Program (YDP) was originally founded in 1978 under the City’s Department of Human Resources. YDP was initially designed to assist youth who were in trouble legally. Programs provided services and interventions to youth and their families as an alternative to court involvement. This was the first diversion program established in Cuyahoga County and a forerunner in this area. YDP expanded its services in the mid and late 1980’s offering additional services to the community including intervention for emotional or behavioral concerns, chemical dependency education and group and parenting programs. In 2006, Charter revisions established the Division of Youth Services transferring the programs for our community’s youth to the Safety Department. In 2010 reorganization transferred the division to the Department of Human Resources and service again expanded to include pantry services. The name was appropriately expanded as well to the Division of Youth & Family Services (DYFS).
Family members are helped to see more clearly how individual attitudes and behavior affect one another and are guided to work on more effective patterns of communication and problem solving. Services are limited to stabilization and referral and advocacy services to guide the family to long term alternatives for assistance and intervention.
Several group programs focused on issues such as Insight (alcohol & drug education/early intervention) are available as needed throughout the year for juveniles and their families.
The Community Diversion Program is an alternative to the traditional juvenile court system. First time juvenile offenders are given the opportunity to make community based restitution for their actions by engaging in a variety of accountability sanctions and intervention services in lieu of formal charges and a public record in juvenile court. Offenses include first time misdemeanors and status offenses such as truancy. Felony complaints may be addressed under special circumstances. This program operates with the cooperation and support of the North Olmsted Police Department and under an agreement with the Cuyahoga County Juvenile Court.
The Division of Youth & Family Services provides an intervention option for juveniles who have been involved in a first time traffic stop in North Olmsted such as a signal or moving violation, speeding or minor motor vehicle accident when, at the officer’s discretion, the infraction is handled as a warning and referred to JTIP. The program is designed to offer an intervention alternative to a regular citation and court involvement. Juveniles can avoid a court record, report to the Ohio BMV and points on their license and avert automatic suspensions. Families have the added benefit of preventing soaring insurance costs due to violations of first offenses. Interventions through JTIP make our young drivers responsible, educated and safe!
JTIP also handles juveniles receiving a warning referral for tobacco or tobacco related products such as vape. In lieu of a mandatory fine, a required appearance and a public record in the court, cases are heard locally with local accountability and education as a key goal. JTIP programs are open to both residents and non-residents.
DYFS operates the Oxcart Pantry year round providing emergency food assistance to residents of North Olmsted. Recipients must meet certain income and residency requirements and are then eligible to receive a healthy variety of food items to assist their family. The pantry stocks dry non-perishable items, frozen food, refrigerated goods and toiletry/ household items. The Oxcart Pantry is also home to our Community Gardens which are available for use by our residents. Our staff plants and maintains several plots which provide fresh produce to our clients. Donations are accepted during pantry business hours on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays each week. Volunteer opportunities are available, please call for information. The Oxcart Pantry is a member agency of the Greater Cleveland Food Bank.
The Oxcart Pantry also provides additional assistance programs throughout the year as resources are made available through the Pack your Backpack with Care and Adopt-a-Family Programs. The Oxcart Pantry also hosts a Mobile Pantry Produce Distribution during the summer.
DYFS staff will assist a youth or family to assess their present situation in relation to available community resources and assist in their obtaining necessary services. Youth and families are referred to DYFS by schools, family members, police, clergy, other agencies or community members. Referrals are made to other agencies or services when necessary and/or appropriate.
Initial appointments or contacts for youth/family programming can be made during regular office hours, which are Monday through Friday from 8:00 AM to 4:30 PM. Click on Contact Us to call or email a staff member.
Most services are free of charge for residents of the City of North Olmsted including Oxcart Pantry programs. Fees do apply for the Community Diversion Program and JTIP and are set by Council. Funding is provided by the City of North Olmsted, personal or community organization donations, grants and other inter-agency agreements.