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Safety Net Collaborative

Cambridge Police

The mission of Safety Net is to foster positive youth development, promote mental health, support safe school and community environments, and limit youth involvement in the juvenile justice system through coordinated prevention, intervention, and diversion services for Cambridge youth and families.

New “Police-Based Juvenile Diversion” Manual: 
Designed to help serve as a turnkey for police departments and municipalities, the comprehensive manual provides an overview of the Safety Net Program, guidance on establishing critical partnerships, the key steps to delivering a structured case management process, and tools to help evaluate the effectiveness of such a diversion program. Also included are sample key documents, including letters, draft agreements and youth service plans to help expedite the implementation of similar programs for other police departments and municipalities. Download it at 

Our Approach:

We all have a role in helping Cambridge youth succeed in school and become productive, law-abiding adults.  Intervening early when youth show signs of trouble can reduce the risk of committing crimes in the future and help keep them on the path to success.  For first time, non-serious juvenile offenders, diversion and treatment in the community is often an effective alternative to arrest.  The Cambridge Police Department's Youth & Family Services Unit believes that partnering with families, schools, mental health providers, youth activity programs, and other social services is essential to prevent and reduce the risk factors associated with juvenile delinquency.

The professionals involved in Safety Net, the Cambridge Police Department Youth & Family Services Unit, Cambridge Health AllianceDepartment of Human Services (DHSP) and Cambridge Public Schools, outreach to families to develop an action plan that is tailored to meet the unique needs of the child.  Examples of services and components of Safety Net initiative include:

  • Connecting youth to mental health services, youth development activities, and mentoring
  • Promoting school safety through Youth Resource Officers
  • Home visit with families
  • Juvenile diversion program
  • Restorative justice and mediation
  • Helping families and schools navigate the legal system
  • Cross training among partner agencies

Since 2007, all Cambridge public schools and city youth programs have had an assigned Youth Resource Officer (YRO).  YROs carry out the goal of Safety Net to reduce juvenile delinquency through three primary strategies:


Through their presence in the schools, youth centers, and community, YROs work to build relationships with Cambridge youth and serve as positive role models to prevent risky, unsafe, or delinquent behavior.

Early Intervention:

YROs work with schools, youth centers, and parents to identify youth with concerning social, emotional, or behavioral challenges. YROs intervene and connect youth with resources before these issues escalate to delinquency.


For youth who have committed a non-violent criminal offense, YROs may place them in a police diversion program. Youth take responsibility for their actions and make reparations to the Cambridge community as an alternative to entering the juvenile justice system.

The City of Cambridge also works closely with ROCA via a Outreach Worker to
disrupt the cycle of incarceration and poverty by helping young people transform their lives.

For more information on the Cambridge Safety Net Collaborative, contact the Cambridge Police Department Youth & Family Services Unit at 617-349-3008.

Page was posted on 5/25/2022 2:41 PM
Page was last modified on 7/24/2023 8:07 PM
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