Source: (2002) Paper presented at "Dreaming of a New Reality," the Third International Conference on Conferencing, Circles and other Restorative Practices, August 8-10, 2002, Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Whenever traditional ways meet rapid change, creating new community dynamics, families and youth are challenged to make early-on, critical lifestyle choices. Poor choices often lead to conflict and, increasingly, to the juvenile justice system. Transforming conflict in these circumstances becomes essential for maintaining safe, healthy and harmonious communities. Rural Carroll County, Md., was selected to pilot community conferencing—an Australian model of community-based prevention and diversion for youth 8 to 17. A process and outcomes evaluation is also ongoing. This session describes program features, community context, intended outcomes, lessons learned, and success to date, emphasizing transferability for other communities.