Birmingham, Jefferson Co. seek to ‘Restore’ troubled youth to fight youth violence
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - A new effort to stop gun violence among youth is taking shape in a partnership between the city of Birmingham and Jefferson County agencies.
With funding from the City of Birmingham, the Jefferson County Family Court, Jefferson County Youth Detention Center and the Jefferson County Family Resource Center want to implement what they call the RESTORE Program. RESTORE stands for reduce, educate, support, train, organize, realize and empower.
The entities recognized that almost 70% of murder victims and more than 80% of those charged with murder or attempted murder had previous contact with Jefferson County Family Court.
“What those statistics tell us is that we need to be paying more attention to the youth and their families as they come through the family court” says Monique Grier, Director of the Jefferson County Youth Detention Center. “At the dependency level or at the delinquency level, we need to be engaging the entire family. We need to be conducting a full assessment to determine what their needs are, what the barriers to success are, and what strengths they have” says Grier.
With a focus on 16 to 19 year-olds, she says the entities also want to streamline and integrate the services and support young people and their families need once they’re in the system.
“We don’t want the families having to come back repeatedly so that on Tuesday the first they’re coming to see probation, but then on Wednesday, they’re having to come back to see the family resource center, or another day they’re having to see DHR for a different reason.”
Grier says it is also vital to support the young people who leave detention when they return to their communities.
This week, the city council budget-and-finance and public safety committees recommended spending $225,000 to try the program for a year.
If the full council approves the money, which could be as early as next week, Grier says the entities could start selecting families for the program next month.
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