Restorative Justice

Restorative Justice

What is Restorative Justice?

Restorative Justice (RJ) is an approach that uses support from family members and the community to discuss what happened between the juvenile offender, the victim, family, and/or community, to create steps towards repairing the harm that occurred. Another goal of RJ is to improve community involvement and prevent juvenile crime by improving neighborhoods and strengthening bonds between community members.

RJ practices help the juvenile offender understand the impact of their behavior and accept responsibility for their actions.  Family and community members can help the youth express remorse, take action to repair damage, and help the youth in becoming a valued member of the community. To learn more about restorative justice check out the 2018 National Center for State Courts' publication.

Nebraska Juvenile Restorative Justice & Family Intervention Initiative

In 2021, the Administrative Office of Courts and Probation (AOCP) was awarded a grant by the Office of Junenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention that focuses and youth RJ. For more infomation on this federal grant, including goals, processes, family engagement, how RJ is victim centered, outcomes, research and evaluation, service providers, and how to refer a case, is available in the Nebraska Juvenile RJ & Family Intervention brochure.

Child Welfare Restorative Practices

There are several types of Child Welfare Restorative Services available to children and families throughout the child welfare court process. Each of the below practices focus on bringing a team of people together to address specific issues related to the case or reach a specific goal. View the Restorative Child Welfare and Juvenile Justice Services Overview.

  • Family Group Conference (FGC)A 3-phase process designed to develop a family-centered plan. The goal is to address the child's safety, permanency, and well-being. 
  • Pre-hearing Conference (PHC): A facilitated meeting with an agenda held before the family appears in court. The goal is to discuss placement, parenting time, ICWA determination, and services. 
  • Pre-hearing Permanency Review Conference (PHPR)A meeting to talk through progress toward reunification or other issues around permanency and develop action steps. 
  • Pre-hearing Termination of Parental Rights Conference (PHTPR): A meeting focused on important questions to be answered at the upcoming termination of parental rights hearing. The goal is to determine if the case is ready for trial and to explore any non-trial options. 
  • Child Welfare Mediation (CWM): A 1:1 mediation between parents and providers; parents and foster parents or parents and family members. The goal is to solve problems that are delaying the child and family's progress. 
  • Child Welfare Facilitation (CWF): A multi-party facilitation that focuses on setting a better course of action for the child, parents and caregivers. The goal is to solve problems or barriers related to the child and family's progress.

Juvenile Justice Restorative Practices

  • Expedited Family Group Conference (EFGC): A 3-phase, research based process designed to develop a family-centered plan with the goal of addressing immediate placement needs for the juvenile. 
  • Victim Youth Conference (VYC): A conversation between an youth who has committed an offense and victim or a victim surrogate, with the victim's safety being the main priority. The goal is to work together to address harms and develop a reparation agreement. 
  • Juvenile Justice Family Group Conference (JJFGC): A opportunity for a youth and their family to meet with a victim and their family or support group to talk through what happened, the impacts of the youth's actions, and how to repair the harm caused. The youth and their family have private time to develop a plan in which the family can support the youth in creating a reparation plan that is feasible. The victim and their family or support will review and can accept, with or without modifications, the reparation plan. 
  • Juvenile Justice Family Conference:  A meeting between a youth and their family to address issues that may be impacting the youth's success.
  • Excessive Absenteeism/Truancy Conference: A facilitated process between a youth who is at risk for court involvement and their parents and school staff. The goal is to create a plan to eliminate any factors causing the youth missing school. 
  • Juvenile Justice Mediation: A 1:1 mediation between a youth and parent, a parent and provider or family members. The goal is to resolve barriers to a youth's progress. 
  • Juvenile Justice Facilitation: A multi-person facilitation with the goal of solving  problems that are getting in the way of a youth's progress.  
  • Restorative Circle: A storytelling process where the participants have honest exchanges about difficult issues and painful experiences. The goal is to create new understandings of each other's experiences and come up with possible solutions.

Child welfare and juvenile justice restorative processes are available through the approved mediation centers. 


Nicole Britten, Program Specialist

Kelly Riley, M.P.A., Director

Nebraska Office of Dispute Resolution
Administrative Office of the Courts and Probation
Mailing Address: PO Box 98910, Lincoln NE 68509-8910
Office Address: 521 S 14th St., Suite 102, Lincoln NE 68508