CERA was formally founded in 1999, as a non-profit society with charitable status. CERA offers restorative justice services to the communities of Anmore, Belcarra, Coquitlam, New Westminster, Port Coquitlam, and Port Moody.
The seeds for the CERA were sown at a strategic planning session of the Tri-Cities Family Court and Youth Justice Committee ("the Family Court and Youth Justice Committee") in February, 1997. Strategic initiatives of interest to the Family Court and Youth Justice Committee included youth diversion programs and other alternatives to the youth criminal justice system. A Restorative Justice Subcommittee was struck to prepare a proposal for an initiative to be sponsored by the Family Court & Youth Justice Committee.
The work of the Restorative Justice Subcommittee included further research on restorative justice, a workshop hosted by the John Howard Society, and a public forum entitled "Beyond Courts and Correction" on November 1997. The public forum provided the public with information on new policies recently announced by the Attorney General on diversion and community-driven restorative justice programs.
In 1998 the work of the Restorative Justice Subcommittee focused on: (1) developing a conceptual model for a restorative justice program for youth in the Tri-Cities area; and (2) engaging a justice system and community stakeholder process.
After analysis of two restorative justice models, the Family Group Conferencing Model was chosen as having the greatest potential to repair harm and bring closure between the person harmed and the person causing the harm.
The stakeholder process included police, RCMP, Crown Counsel, Ministry of Children and Families, School District and Chamber of Commerce input, as well as input from the councils of the 5 municipalities involved.
A program called the Community Youth Justice Program (CYJP) was accepted as a Community Accountability Program by the Ministry of the Attorney General in October 1998, and is the main service provided by CERA today.
The first referral was received in January, 2000. In September, 2004 New Westminster began participating in the CYJP. As of September, 2008 the program is delivered by 3 staff and 37 volunteer facilitators. Over 50 referrals were handled in 2007.
A program called the Community Youth Justice Program (CYJP) was accepted as a Community Accountability Program by the Ministry of the Attorney General in October 1998, and is the main service provided by CERA today. In 2000, CYJP began serving the Tri-Cities, Anmore and Belcarra. In September, 2004 New Westminster also began participating in the CYJP.
From receipt of the first referral in January 2000 to today, over 300 files have been referred to the CYJP. The program currently has a 96% successful completion rate, meaning 96% of accused youth who participated in a resolution conference have successfully completed all components of their restorative justice agreement.
As of 2009 the program is delivered by 3 staff and 13 volunteer facilitators.