ATLANTA, GA – The Criminal Justice Coordinating Council (CJCC) released a solicitation today for a new Family Justice Center Initiative. The Initiative will award $100,000 annually for up to four years to fund the development, implementation, and enhancement of a Family Justice Center in three selected Georgia communities.
A Family Justice Center is a community-wide collaboration of existing public and private agencies who co-locate their staff in a centralized location to best serve victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, and child abuse. The model provides one convenient and family-friendly location where victims and their families can go to receive an array of services to promote their safety and well-being. The model seeks to alleviate many of the obstacles that hinder victims, such as traveling to multiple locations to receive services and repeating their story over and over again. The model is identified as a best practice in the field of domestic violence intervention and prevention services by the United States Department of Justice, Office on Violence Against Women.
Family Justice Centers centralize the intake process for victims seeking services from multi-disciplinary agencies that serve victims of domestic violence, sexual assault and child abuse. Upon arrival, coordinators provide victims with an overview of available services and assist clients in navigating the court system and their ongoing safety. Centers also house prosecutors and law enforcement who specialize in these cases who may conduct interviews with victims. Additional organizations also provide services under the same roof, including attorneys, elder abuse and human trafficking advocates, and counseling professionals.
“We believe the Family Justice Center model is the future of victim services and we are excited to support their development in Georgia. Family Justice Centers not only streamline the delivery of services and improve outcomes for victims and their children, but they serve as vital coordinating entities for existing service providers and will enhance collaboration between local agencies,” said Jay Neal, Executive Director of CJCC.
The Family Justice Center Initiative solicitation requires the full support and ongoing involvement of several key community partners over the course of the four-year grant. Required partners include: the certified domestic violence, sexual assault, and child advocacy centers; sheriff’s office and police department; district attorney and solicitor general; victim-witness program personnel; civil-legal service providers; and county/city government.
The first phase of the grant will involve the hiring of a coordinator who will serve as a neutral facilitator and will bring together community partners to get the center organized and the doors open after two years of planning. In years three and four, the Family Justice Center will focus on providing, evaluating, enhancing and/or expanding services.
“To be successful, Family Justice Centers require leadership and buy-in from all facets of the community, and a considerable amount of time and resources. While the solicitation will require significant commitments from applicants and their partners to ensure a successful planning and launch of a Family Justice Center, CJCC is committed to supporting subgrantees every step of the way. Our Statewide Family Justice Center Coordinator, Jenny Aszman, will support our subgrantees by providing technical assistance and training to ensure they are meeting necessary deliverables and implementing best practices,” remarked Kristy Carter, Director of CJCC’s Victims Assistance Division.
Jenny Aszman, who joined CJCC in February after serving eight years at the Georgia Commission on Family Violence, adds, “Victims and their families deserve the best we can offer, and the Family Justice Center model is just that. We know this model works and can lead to so many positive outcomes, including reduced homicides, increased victim safety and empowerment, increased prosecution of offenders, and dramatically increased community support for services. I’m excited to work with our subgrantees to successfully implement this model in Georgia.”
Communities interested in applying can view the Family Justice Center Initiative solicitation at https://cjcc.georgia.gov/grants/family-justice-center-initiative. Applications are due to CJCC on August 14th, 2020 at 5:00 pm. For more information regarding the solicitation, contact Jenny Aszman at Jenny.Aszman@cjcc.ga.gov or 470-542-6777.
About the Criminal Justice Coordinating Council (CJCC)
Created by the Georgia General Assembly in 1981 as an Executive Branch agency, the Criminal Justice Coordinating Council (CJCC) represents the culmination of many efforts to establish a statewide body that would build consensus and unity among the State’s diverse and interdependent, criminal justice system components. For more information visit the CJCC website: https://cjcc.georgia.gov/.
Britney Hough, Communications and External Affairs Specialist