A second chance for youth to build on their strengths, reduce reliance on the juvenile justice system and make safe decisions for themselves and the community.

Program Description

The premise of LADDERS (Learning Alternative Daily Decisions to Ensure Reasonable Safety) is to prevent formal charges from being filed against youth for disorderly conduct charges. Instead, if the youth has not had prior formal court involvement the youth will be asked to participate in a diversion program that will give them a chance to rethink how he/she can handle conflict in the future. Once the requirements are completed, NO formal charges will be filed.

The expectation is that after completing the LADDERS program, there will be no future involvement with the juvenile justice system. This program is currently implemented in Johnson County and referrals come from law enforcement and juvenile court. With the use of these services, 90-95% of the youth served do not receive any additional charges and remain out of the juvenile justice system.

The LADDERS program seeks to reduce:

  • The number of disorderly conduct charges that are filed against youth in Johnson County.
  • The number of referrals made to the juvenile court system on simple misdemeanor charges.
  • The unevenly high number of minority youth involved in juvenile court.

Jan Liggett (1952-2014) was a passionate advocate for youth throughout her life. She created the first juvenile diversion program in Johnson County more than 30 years ago.