Middlesex Vicinage Volunteer Programs
Middlesex County offers several different types of programs for volunteers.
Juvenile Conference Committee
The Juvenile Conference Committees serve under the authority of the Family Division of the Superior Court.
A JCC is a six to nine member citizen appointed by the Family Division Judge. In a confidential setting , JCC panels hears and decide matters involving alleged juvenile offenders. The juvenile, parents(s) and guardian(s) and complainant are invited to discuss the offense and related matters with the Committee. The JCC considers the facts and makes recommendations to the judge for a resolution that would aid in the juvenile's rehabilitation.
The program is designed to divert juveniles charged with first or second degree minor offenses to their local JCC, which acts as a community based arm of the Family Court. Charges that may be heard by the committee include : shoplifting, simple assault, attempted theft or theft, criminal mischief, criminal trespass, receiving stolen property and disorderly person offenses.
Committees meet once a month in the evening. Criminal background checks are conducted on all prospective applicants. Volunteers are required to complete mandatory training and are sworn in by a Family Court Judge.
Child Placement Review Board
Child Placement review Board is a legislatively mandated judicial volunteer program in the Family Division. Boards are comprised of court appointed citizen volunteers who monitor the cases of all children who are placed outside of their homes by the Division of Youth and Family Services. Board members monitor the timeliness of case movement, examine case plans, and conduct in-person interviews of involved parties in order to provide judges with recommendations to assist in the critical decision making process. Boards are mandated to assess each case from the point of view of the best interest of the child. The Boards recommendations embrace issues such as how the case is managed and how quickly the child achieves permanency.
Review boards meet in the evening once a month at the Court House in New Brunswick. Volunteers are required to complete mandatory specific training. Criminal record checks are conducted and volunteers are sworn in by a Family Court Judge.
Special Civil Part Settlement Program
Special Civil Part Settlement Program consists of volunteers, generally lawyers, who conduct settlement conferences with litigants in order to resolve disputes outside of court.
Volunteers hear a variety of cases that may include: contract disputes, personal injury, nuisance claims, automobile accidents and landlord tenant disputes.
Conferences are conducted every Monday and Tuesday morning at the Middlesex County Court House.
Interested volunteers must either possess a law degree or possess a certificate in mediation that is recognized by the Administrative Office of the Court.
Volunteers In Probation
The Volunteers in Probation (VIP) work with adult probationers under the Probation Division.
VIP is staffed with volunteers from the community who assume the role as mentor for clients placed on probation. Volunteers meet with clients on a weekly basis and provide supervision and mentoring so that individuals placed on probation can improve their behavior in the community. Probationers are also guided to comply with conditions of probation. VIP is concerned with preventing future criminal behavior, provide adults with a positive role model and involve the community in the justice system. Probationers with minor or non-violent offenses are permitted to participate in the program.
Volunteers receive mandatory training and are sworn in by a Criminal Court Judge.
Municipal Court Volunteer Program
Municipal Court Mediation Programs use volunteers from the community to mediate disputes that involve family members, neighbors or friends. Typical cases include simple assault, trespass, harassment, noise complaints, animal or pet complaints, property disputes, and criminal mischief.
Volunteers are recommended by the Municipal Court Judge and approved to serve as mediators by the Vicinage Assignment judge. Mediators facilitate discussions between parties in dispute, encourage them to resolve their differences amicably, and assist in writing agreements if the dispute is resolved.
Volunteers receive training in managing conflict effectively, communication and listening skills and techniques and dealing with problems in mediation. Criminal background checks are conducted and volunteers are sworn in by a Superior Court Judge.