In January of 2002, two motivated community citizens developed a conceptual frame for what ultimately led to the establishment of Restorative Justice Chatham-Kent, all initially from casual conversation.
On June 4, 2002, a public forum convened with guest speakers present from St. Leonard’s Society of London and Community Justice Circles. On April 1, 2003, the Youth Criminal Justice Act came into effect. Throughout 2003 and 2004, many discussions took place amongst stakeholders with respect to establishing relationships in the community that would promote Restorative Justice Chatham-Kent as a resource to the justice system.
In 2005, Restorative Justice Chatham-Kent successfully secured a Service Contract with the Ministry of Children and Youth Services (Youth Justice Division, West Region) to provide Restorative Justice Youth Conferencing, as an ‘Alternative Measures Program’ under the Youth Criminal Justice Act. This partnership has diversified and been strengthened since then, with a Service Contract expansion in 2016 to include Extrajudicial Measures (EJM) Program, and the Extrajudicial Sanctions (EJS) Program.
Over the years, many changes have resulted in positive progress for the organization, thanks to the hard work and passion of a dedicated Board and staff team – Restorative Justice Chatham-Kent has truly evolved into a respected community partner, serving hundreds of local at-risk children and youth. The organization’s growth and success has been impacted by its official designation as a funded Member Agency with the United Way of Chatham-Kent (since 2008), as well as several Ontario Trillium Foundation Grants – most recently including a $52,000 in 2015.