What is a court-designated worker?
Court-designated workers, or CDWs, are assigned to the cases of individuals under age 18 who are referred to the criminal justice system for public or status offenses. Status offenses are noncriminal forms of juvenile behavior, such as running away from home, skipping class, tobacco offenses or exhibiting beyond-control behaviors at home or at school. Public offenses are the same as adult crimes.
State law allows some juvenile complaints to be processed outside of court through the CDW program. Cases involving serious offenses and repeat offenders are heard by a judge.
The cases of juveniles who have committed minor offenses may be resolved with a diversion agreement.
A court-designated worker and a young offender negotiate a diversion agreement during a formal conference that parents are requested to attend. The agreements consist of conditions that relate to the alleged offense and often include one or more of the following: restitution, community service, curfew, counseling, educational seminar attendance and drug/alcohol assessments.
The diversion process is designed to educate, instill a sense of accountability and deter young people from getting into further trouble. CDWs monitor diversion agreements, which may last up to six months, to ensure that the juveniles comply with the conditions. If a juvenile successfully completes the agreement, the case is dismissed. If a juvenile fails to comply with the conditions of the diversion agreement, the case will be set for formal proceedings.
– Information provided by the Administrative Office of the Courts, www.http://courts.ky.gov/aoc/familyjuvenile/Pages/CDW.aspx