The Youth Accountability Team (YAT) program was created in 2001 in Riverside County to target at-risk youths for intervention. But YAT treats children who have not been convicted of crimes like hardened criminals with surprise searches, unannounced home visitations, strict restrictions on who participants can speak to, curfews, and interrogations into intimate details of their lives. It’s a program far more likely to be applied to youths of color.

YAT is not just oppressive, it's unconstitutional.

On July 2, 1, 2018, a class action lawsuit was filed against Riverside County, which oversees the YAT program and funnels millions of taxpayer dollars into it, by the American Civil Liberties Union Foundation; ACLU SoCal; ACLU NorCal; ACLU of San Diego and Imperial Counties; the law firm of Sheppard, Mullin, Richter & Hampton LLP; and the National Center for Youth Law.

The lawsuit was filed in U.S. District Court in Riverside on behalf of three students and the non-profit mentoring organization Sigma Beta Xi that works with local youths of color. It asks that the YAT program be forced to adhere to the U.S. Constitution’s due process clause and California state Constitution provisions.

On July 24, 2019, all parties agreed to a settlement that will implement comprehensive systemic reform to the YAT program and provide additional supports for Riverside youth. Learn more about the settlement agreement.

Case developments

FILING
July 24, 2019
Plaintiffs file a motion requesting preliminary approval of a settlement that will implement sweeping reforms to the YAT program, including removing probation officers from schools, eliminating referrals based on WIC 601 offenses, and providing counsel for youth referred to YAT for allegedly committing crimes, amongst others. Read the Motion for Preliminary Approval of Class Action Settlement.

ORDER
September 17, 2018
The Court issues an order certifying Plaintiffs’ requested class and appointing Plaintiffs’ counsel as class counsel. Read the Order Certifying Class and Appointing Class Counsel.

FILING
September 13, 2018
Plaintiffs file a motion to certify a class that includes all children in Riverside County who have been referred to the YAT program under WIC 601 and have been, or will be, placed on a YAT contract. Read the Motion for Class Certification.

FILING
July 1, 2018
Plaintiffs file a class action complaint challenging Riverside County's Youth Accountability Program (YAT), which criminalizes and violates the rights of thousands of youth. Read the complaint here.

Date filed

July 1, 2018

Court

United States District Court for the Central District of California, Eastern Division

Status

Filed

Case number

5:18-cv-01399

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