CYFA and Falls Church Police Department Enter Into Restorative Practices Partnership.
CYFA and the Falls Church Police Department (FCPD) have implemented Promoting Empathy through Equitable Resolution (PEER), a restorative practice program, to transform the juvenile legal system by improving outcomes for young people, particularly minority youth, and increasing public safety in the City of Falls Church. 
Falls Church, Virginia, March 15, 2021 - CYFA and FCPD have partnered to bring restorative practices to the City of Falls Church. Through PEER, CYFA and FCPD are transforming systemic responses to adolescent harm through community-based initiatives that aim to prevent young people from entering the legal system and improve public safety.

PEER provides an effective and equitable community-based alternative to traditional legal responses to harmful adolescent behavior. PEER employs restorative practices to go beyond punishment to the heart of personal accountability, victim empowerment, and increased community safety.

PEER further advances community policing beyond engagement to systemic reform. The most effective way to reduce system involvement is to remove entry points into the criminal legal system. FCPD officers are empowered with a resource that holds young people who commit harm accountable for their actions without exposing them to the risks of a criminal record, provides victims an opportunity to be actively involved in resolution of their case, and promotes community safety through meaningful reintegration. Chief Mary Gavin notes, "Officers of the Falls Church Police Department understand the privilege and responsibility that comes with serving this amazing community. We stand boldly in our commitment to justice, fairness, and equality, and we stand proudly with CYFA in our collective work of achieving accountability through empathy and compassion for victims and young people involved."

PEER is a victim-centered restorative practice program. PEER is available for young people ages 10-17 who have engaged in harmful behavior that would amount to a misdemeanor or nonviolent felony. There is no residency requirement for referral into PEER. All referrals will undergo an eligibility evaluation and, if accepted, participation in PEER is entirely voluntary.

FCPD officers will begin offering PEER on March 15, 2021. This opportunity to achieve community-driven systemic reform lies with each member of the community. PEER is a data-driven initiative that seeks not only to disrupt systemic causes to juvenile delinquency but also to reduce disproportionate minority youth representation in the juvenile legal system. CYFA and FCPD will engage in robust data collection to evaluate the manner in which PEER is utilized and to inform programming. CYFA will analyze and report on outcomes twice per year.

CYFA has developed a comprehensive curriculum focused on the legal system, power, identity, trauma, and restorative practice. This curriculum is used to train youth facilitators to work closely with experienced restorative practitioners in developing case-specific conferencing plans. CYFA recognizes the important role youth play in our community, and it endeavors to instill youth leaders with the agency, confidence, skill, knowledge, and empathy necessary to create a just legal system.

If you would like to learn more about CYFA or PEER, please visit CYFA's website or contact CYFA by email.
CYFA is a nonprofit organization that works to transform the fabric of family and community through restorative practices, education, and advocacy. CYFA employs collaborative approaches to create comprehensive solutions to the complex issues of racial and social justice. CYFA’s cross-system prevention initiatives are research-based and mission-focused: CYFA works to disrupt systemic oppression to create healthy and equitable outcomes for young people and families.

Media Contact:

Molly Newton
Chief Operations Officer
(703) 380-3172