Young Adult Court (YAC)

Young Adult Court (YAC) is a Collaborative Court diversion partnership for transitional age youth facing felony charges who wish to have their records expunged in exchange for successful participation and graduation from the program. 

Young Adult Court (YAC) is an innovative court diversion program led by Felton Institute and the San Francisco Superior Court. The first of its kind nationwide, YAC is a compassionate alternative to traditional criminal proceedings for eligible young adults, ages 18-25.

YAC strives to align opportunities for accountability and transformation with the unique needs of young adults. Research shows that young adults’ brains are in a fundamentally different stage compared to their child or adult counterparts. While cerebral development is not yet complete, young adults navigate adult-like challenges such as housing, employment, and harsh criminal sentencing.

In an effort to build a stronger support system for young adults in San Francisco, Felton Institute provides trauma-informed case management for clients facing misdemeanor crimes. YAC also provides support for young adults challenged by substance abuse disorders and deemed a high-risk to reoffend in the community.

Program Components

The program consists of 4 phases. The average length for completion is a year and a half. While each phase has a minimum time length, a client’s engagement levels determine how quickly or slowly they graduate.

Services include:

  • Case management
  • Clinical support
  • Opportunity to work with a career advisor
  • Life skills groups
  • Housing information
  • Barrier removal
  • linkage to additional community support

To create a holistic system of care, YAC clients receive ongoing support for employment, housing, and education after graduation.

YAC is intended for Transitional Age Youth (18-25) facing felony charges in San Francisco.

Eligibility is established in part on a legal determination based on the nature and types of charges filed against an individual as well as that individual’s prior criminal history.

Eligibility is also determined based on a participant’s needs and risk factors. Priority is given to individuals with connections to San Francisco, including family and supports.

The Value of YAC Graduation

Engagement in and graduation from Young Adult Court can substantially improve the developmental and life trajectory for a young person accused of an offense.

You can read about our YAC graduation in the May 2021 newsletter article “Young Adult Court Celebrates Four New Graduates.”

Young Adult Count of San Francisco

To learn more about YAC and its importance in the community, visit The Superior Court of San Francisco’s website and check out our Program Video.

Are you a Young Adult Court (YAC) graduate?

We are offering a paid opportunity for YAC program graduates to support current participants, develop leadership skills, and help shape the program’s future.


Office Hours: 9:00am – 5:00pm
Service Area: The City and County of San Francisco

Young Adult Court (YAC)
SOMA, San Francisco Office

Program Email:
Address: 1663 Mission St., Suite 250, San Francisco, CA 94103
Parking Notes: Limited metered street parking

For more information, please contact:

Celina M. Hennessey, LMFT
Program Manager, Young Adult Court (YAC), Clinical Supervisor
Cell (Work): 415-216-6140

Partnerships: Young Adult Court (YAC) relies on qualified community partners to provide linkages, resources, and references for the participating clients – Instrumental community partners include:

  • Office of the District Attorney
  • Office of the Public Defender
  • San Francisco Department of Public Health
  • Adult Probation Department
  • Department of Children, Youth and their Families
  • San Francisco Police Department

Funder: Felton Institute’s Young Adult Court Program is Funded by the Children and Youth Fund (DCYF).