The Richmond Police Department’s L.I.F.E. Program (Law enforcement Intervention Focused on Education) is a diversion program for youth who are facing charges for misdemeanor offenses. The program intervenes at a time when teens are at a fork in the road, and aims to prevent further court involvement by facilitating positive learning experiences with officers. Through a partnership with Richmond Public Schools and the Department of Juvenile Justice, youth are referred to the program and provided with tools, services, and resources to build resilience and help them achieve success.
The 9-week psychoeducational program encompasses a variety of interventions to promote the development of effective communication skills, feelings identification, coping techniques and problem solving strategies.
Recognizing the need for additional support for the youth, RPD reached out to SCAN to collaboratively address those needs. Lisa Wright, Margo Buchanan and Audrey Wright, Clinicians from SCAN’s Child Advocacy Center Trauma Focused Treatment Program, became involved to serve as a neutral, safe support. They help lead small groups with an officer and engage youth in activities such as self-reflection, regulation and what community means to them. The youth also participate in activities, such as basketball, with the officers in order to build relationships. Audrey shared that it is a place where these youth can feel heard.