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Detention Diversion Advocacy Program


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Intensive case management and a comprehensive range of community services targeting the highest risk youth in the juvenile justice system.

Eligibility and referrals

Referrals to the Detention Diversion Advocacy Program (DDAP) come from defense attorneys, courts, parents, or community-based service providers. DDAP targets repeat offenders who are at high-risk to reoffend and have highly specialized needs, such as substance abuse, educational difficulties, or gang involvement.

CJCJ staff meet with their potential clients and, after an initial screening process, develop case plans to present to the court. The case plan describes the specific conditions and outcomes the youth promises to fulfill in exchange for, or upon release from, custody. In at least 80% of the cases, CJCJ is successful in having the youth released to CJCJ or another community-based organization’s custody.

To make a referral or a request for services please contact Gerald Miller, Director of Community-Based Services, by phone at (415) 621-5661 ext. 108 or email at

How it works

A case expeditor meets a detained youth to develop a case plan to present to the court. Once a youth is released to CJCJ’s custody, DDAP employs an intensive case management strategy to implement the designated case plan. DDAP staff connect their clients to a range of community-based services including.

DDAP staff conduct face-to-face visits three times a day (during the first week after referral) to three times a week (in the second and third months). Staff act as role models and mentors, providing stable and encouraging support structures for their clients, and never carry caseloads higher than 12 youth.

According to a United States Department of Justice study in 1999, DDAP participants were 26% less likely to recidivate when compared to detained youth. In 2002, the Center for Excellence in Municipal Management of George Washington University, evaluated the Philadelphia Detention Diversion Advocacy Program (DDAP), finding that only 6% of DDAP clients were rearrested. Additionally, 4% of the DDAP clients were reported to have missed a court date during their time under DDAP supervision.


In 1993, CJCJ developed DDAP to reduce unnecessary youth detention and lengths of stay, and to increase community engagement with youth offenders. DDAP was the first evidence-based pre-adjudication diversion program for high risk youth in the nation. By targeting the highest risk youth in San Francisco's juvenile detention center, the program was able to avoid the common problem of "net-widening" that commonly undermines traditional diversion programs. Using a combination of assessment, planning and intensive case management, DDAP is recognized as a national model by the United States Department of Justice. 

CJCJ has received numerous awards for DDAP, including:

  • 1993: Diversity Award from the Center for Human Development
  • 1993: Agency of the Year Award from the San Francisco Delinquency Prevention Commission
  • 1998: Semifinalist for the Kennedy School of Government Harvard University Innovations in Government Award
  • 2002 and 2005: Recognized by the U.S. Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP) as a national model of evidence-based practice for alternatives to juvenile detention

CJCJ assist jurisdictions and agencies around the country to replicate DDAP. DDAP has been replicated in numerous cities, including Philadelphia, Baltimore, the District of Columbia, and Oakland, as a vehicle for reducing detention populations and promoting systemic juvenile justice reform. The program was also replicated by the Robert F. Kennedy (RFK) Children's Action Corps in the City of Boston, with technical assistance from CJCJ. In July of 2006, the RFK Corps received a Meritorious Achievement Award from the Massachusetts Executive Office of Public Safety for their DDAP program.

Gerald Miller, Director of Community-Based Services
Tel: (415) 621-5661 x. 108
Fax: (415) 621-5466

Center on Juvenile and Criminal Justice
424 Guerrero Street, Suite A
San Francisco, CA 94110

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