Our Work

Youth Diversion Projects


Youth Diversion Projects are co-funded by the Government of Ireland and the European Union.

Youth Diversion Projects are community based and supported youth development projects which seek to divert young people from becoming involved (or further involved) in anti-social or criminal behaviour. These projects facilitate personal development and promote civic responsibility. 

Foróige operates 30% of Youth Diversion Projects in Ireland. These are a partnership between the Irish Youth Justice Service, Garda Community Relations and Foróige.  The European Social Fund is a co-funder with the Irish Government of the Youth Diversion Projects, which has resulted in increased capacity to provide more one to one work, more challenging group work and increase the employment readiness of the young people involved. YDPs are community based, multi-agency, youth crime prevention initiatives which primarily seek to divert young people involved or at risk of becoming involved in criminal/anti-social behaviour away from the criminal justice system by providing suitable activities to facilitate personal development, promote civic responsibility and improve longterm employability prospects. 

A new Youth Justice Strategy 2021 - 2027 has been developed under the guidance of an expert Steering Group chaired by Minister of State James Browne TD and with the benefit of broad consultation with stakeholders.

The Strategy is grounded on child welfare principles, deriving in particular from the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. It includes a wide range of issues relevant to children and young people at risk of coming into contact with the criminal justice system, including:

  • Early intervention and preventative work
  • Family support
  • Diversion from crime
  • Working with harder to engage young people

A further development from the strategy is the expansion of YDPs, ensuring full geographical coverage, so that every young person who requires a service, will have access to it. All interventions delivered through Foróige YDPs, are needs led, evidence based and outcomes focused with a view to reducing the likelihood of a young person offending or reoffending. As such, the interventions vary from project to project and initiative to initiative, based on the individual needs and circumstances of the young people, their families and their communities. Interventions can take place in both group and one to one settings, on site in a project premises, or reaching out to the community and other suitable spaces.

The Strategy takes a rights-based approach to working with young people at risk, and is underpinned by a “no wrong door” principle outlining a commitment to child centred wrap around services.  It emphasises the development of evidence informed programmes, interventions and supports, across all areas of the youth justice system including court processes, detention and legislation, as well as early intervention and diversion measures. The Strategy prioritises implementation of measures to enhance the existing Youth Diversion Projects (YDPs).

Outcomes for Youth Diversion Projects

Each young person involved in a Youth Diversion Project goes through an assessment process to identify their individual needs and strengths. This allows the project to tailor a programme of activities specifically to meet the needs of the young person. The outcomes for each individual will vary depending on their own needs, but they will involve the reduction of risk factors for offending and an increase in protective factors. Some typical outcomes for YDP participants may include:

  • Improved educational attachment and/or attainment
  • Reduced substance misuse
  • Increased engagement with pro-social peers
  • Improved parenting effectiveness
  • Increase in pro-social attitudes and behaviours
  • Improved use of leisure/recreation time

Positive outcomes in these areas of a young person life have been proven to lead to a reduction in their likelihood of offending/re-offending.

List of Foróige managed Youth Diversion Projects