The Juvenile Services Unit is staffed by a Juvenile Detective and a Juvenile Specialist. The Juvenile Services Unit uses a unique combination of law enforcement and clinical social work to provide prevention and early intervention services to youth and their families in Redwood City. Early intervention strategies are critical to the prevention of many negative outcomes that the youth in our community might experience: drug abuse, teenage pregnancy, school failure and school dropout, and delinquency.
The Juvenile Detective investigates reports of child abuse, sexual abuse, and works closely with the Keller Center.
Juvenile Specialist Manuel Velarde handles incidents and issues that involve crimes committed by and against minors. He is also the field supervisor for the Internship Program. Interns from the counseling and clinical social work programs at San Francisco State, San Jose State and CSU State East Bay provide direct services to at-risk youth offenders.
Velarde also coordinates the Gang Prevention Program. The program is designed to help youth recognize the negative and adverse impact of gangs in their lives. Two major components of the program are the Gang and Delinquency Prevention Classes and the Redwood City Police Department Tattoo Removal Program.
Members of the Juvenile Unit coordinate and supervise the Diversion Services. Diversion is a program designed to keep first-offenders out of the court system. The concept of diversion is based on the theory that processing first time offending youth through the juvenile justice system for non-violent minor crimes may do more harm than good. If the participants complete the six-month Diversion Program successfully, the charges against them are dropped and they will have no criminal records.
Services and Programs
Parent Project Program
The Parent Project is a 12 week nationally recognized training program designed for parents of strong-willed or out-of-control children. Parents meet once a week, three hours per session.
The curriculum teaches parents how to stop negative behaviors (poor school attendance and performance, alcohol and other drug use, gangs, runaways, and violent teens), and how to open positive two-way communication with the child. The classes are designed to teach participants how to work in collaboration with the Redwood City Police Department, schools, and social service agencies.
Programa Proyecto de Padres
El Programa Projecto de Padres (Parent Project) es un entrenamiento de 12 semanas hecho especificamente para Padres y Madres que tienen hijos con personalidades dificiles y que estan perdiendo el control. Las clases se llevaran acabo una vez por semana por tres horas.
El programa entrena a los Padres y Madres a parar conductas negativas de sus hijos como no ir a la escuela, no hacer tareas, usar alcohol y otras drogas, ser pandilleros, escaparse de la casa o volverse violentos. Tambien se practica como tener una comunicacion efectiva con los hijos. Estas clases estan disenadas para preparar a los Padres y Madres a trabajar juntos en colaboracion con la Policia de Redwood City, las escuelas y otras agencias de servicio social.
Tattoo Removal Program
The Tattoo Removal Program was created to assist reformed gang members who wished to remove the signs, markings, and stigma of past gang affiliation. This program has also expanded to include those who have experienced the trauma of domestic violence. Removing these types of tattoos increases an individuals’ self-esteem in addition to creating better opportunities in education and employment. The program is targeted towards those individuals who are interested in making positive changes in their lives and who have renounced gang affiliation.
The program offers San Mateo County residents, ages 10 and up, tattoo removal treatments at no cost. In return, those individuals are required to perform volunteer community service hours and attend either school or work. They also must have a commitment to become involved in supervised education, employment, and community service activities and mentoring.
The Tattoo Removal Program Application can be found here.
Gang Prevention Classes
During the presentation, parents learn about the critical issues and topics of juvenile gang prevention at home and schools. The participants receive information that will help them to recognize signs that indicate their child may be involved in gangs. We also teach the foundations for understanding the diverse nature of gangs, the social, economic, and cultural problems they pose, and the community harm they cause.
Crossing Limits Class
The classes teach middle school students about the legal consequences of bullying, sexual assaults and the inappropriate use of electronic devices.
The program helps parents who request police assistance to assess and implement alternatives to help children with at-risk behaviors.
Truancy Abatement Program
Truancy has long been identified as an early warning sign of potential delinquent behavior, social isolation, and educational failure. Several studies have concluded that lack of commitment to school is a risk factor for substance abuse, delinquency, teen pregnancy, and dropping out. The effects of truancy are pervasive—the problem takes its toll not only on students but also on schools and communities.
The Police Department works closely with the school districts to assist with keeping students in school. The program is designed to enforce truancy laws to ensure that every student attends school and has an opportunity to achieve academic and social success.
Graduated students from various universities provide clinical interventions to students, first-time offenders, and at-risk families. Interns are trained to discuss individual and family problems to create treatment plans with realistic and attainable goals and objectives. The interns’ professional practice is shaped by ethical principles which are rooted in the basic values of the law enforcement and social work professions. These core values include a commitment to the dignity, respect, and well-being of the individuals and a commitment to a society which offers opportunities to all its members in a just and non-discriminatory manner.
The Diversion Program works with parents and juvenile first-time offenders to change destructive behaviors and avoid future negative interactions with the juvenile justice system. The program offers young people the unique opportunity to avoid court records as a result of a minor criminal offense.
If you would like to sign up for any of these programs, or would simply like to know more, contact:
For communications relating to juvenile criminal cases, contact:
Detective Monica De La Cerda