Safety & Community Stability Strategic Action Team

FAMILY CONNECTION-COMMUNITIES IN SCHOOLS

Chair: Hon Robin Shearer, Judge, Athens-Clarke County Juvenile Court

Staff facilitator: Tim Johnson, FC-CIS executive director

Contact: 706-369-9732, www.fc-cis.org, tim.johnson@fc-cis.org

Meeting schedule: Third Tuesday, 8:30 a.m.

Meeting location: Clarke County DFCS

Description: Public and private organizations, Neighborhood Leaders, and others work together for improved safety and community stability for all children and families. Work has primarily focused on prevention of child abuse and neglect, improved support for victims of abuse and neglect, prevention of engagement in the Juvenile Justice system, improved outcomes for those in the Juvenile Justice system, promotion of youth leadership, and related activities.

Outcome goals: Reduced child abuse and neglect, expanded availability of foster homes to allow all foster children to remain in the community, appropriate services (including appropriate treatment for PTSD), prevention of bullying, prevention of underage drinking and use of illegal drugs, improved school attendance/reduce truancy, reduced incarceration of juveniles, increased involvement in youth leadership, and related outcomes. Improved physical environment in neighborhoods.

Examples of accomplishments: Developed and created Child Advocacy Center for children suffering sex abuse (operated by The Cottage). Successfully advocated for creation of Family Protection Center to provide support for survivors of domestic violence and child abuse & neglect. Developed and implemented school attendance panels and other strategies to improve school attendance. Implemented family team meetings. Reduced child abuse and neglect (though back up sharply recently). Sharp reductions in juveniles sent to detention centers. Developed and implemented CHINS (Children in Need of Services) protocol as part of Juvenile Justice system reform. Established Peer Court (implemented & operated by UGA’s J. W. Fanning Center). Established Youth Police Academy (operated by Athens-Clarke County Police Department). Neighborhood Leaders (parents in high poverty neighborhoods) completed Citizens Police Academy and implemented prevention programs in their neighborhoods. Neighborhood Leaders played lead role in re-designed Jack R. Wells public housing neighborhood. Right Track services were established for child sex offenders. Established protocol for early year service providers when child taken into foster care. Three Habitat houses built in key neighborhood. Juvenile Justice probation officers stationed in two high schools. Balanced & Restorative Justice approach implemented. Family visitation center established. Safe & Welcoming Schools established in public schools. Established Rites of Passage program.

Examples of new/developing initiatives: Working regionally (facilitated by J. W. Fanning) for expanded availability of foster homes. Athens-Clarke County has established a gang prevention task force. CHINS committee continues working across agencies to support youth in need. More services needed to address PTSD and other emotional health needs. Police Department creating Youth Services Division. Family Treatment Court to address addiction and other issues for families engaged with the Court.
Examples of solutions for needs as identified by the SAT and the current status of the solution

Solution                                             Status

Anti-Bullying Intervention Safe & Welcoming Schools project from UGA CoE is being implemented in some schools, training provided to all schools. Conflict resolution training provided by Ga Conflict Center in Clarke Middle and Classic City High schools
Peer Court In place (led by Emily Boness of Fanning) but funding needed to sustain.
Attendance Panel In place. Expanded/revised to school-based
Truancy Court In place
Safe Routes to School In place at some schools.
Safe Dates In place
Teen Texting Program In place through Project Safe
Rites of Passage In operation but needs to expand; has very limited resources
Mindfulness for Rites of Passage Funding for instructor needed
Citizens Police Academy In place; some Neighborhood Leaders participated
Youth Police Academy In place, sessions have been held, future sessions planned
Increase adult literacy In place, needs expansion
Habitat houses Habitat completed the two promised houses and added a third, with more planned
Re-construction of Jack R. Wells public housing neighborhood Complex demolished, first phase completed, all phases will be completed
Provide Child Advocacy Center support services to children who have been sexually abused Provided by The Cottage
Provide Right Track services for children who have committed sex offenses ABHS provides but currently no one specializes
Implement Balanced & Restorative Justice (BARJ) model into Juvenile Justice  Being implemented by DJJ and the Juvenile Court
Utilize Family Team Meetings model DFCS child safety cases utilize FTM model
Establish family visitation center for families with children in foster care Established through Children First in house donated by Emmanuel Episcopal Church
Establish CHINS (Children In Need of Services) collaborative staffing In place, meets twice a month
Establish CHINS protocol and standing order Established and in place
Establish protocol for early year service providers when child is taken from the home Established and implemented through our SAT
Expand foster home availability Outreach being done, some increase, far more needed
Development and implement strategies to prevent gangs Athens-Clarke County has established a task force which is in the process of developing plans.
Establish Family Treatment Court Established by Juvenile Court, graduations have been held
Establish Youth Services Unit in Police Dept for prevention services ACC PD is in process of developing it

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