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Birmingham Awarded $2.4 Million for Juvenile Re-Entry, Youth Crime Reduction Initiatives

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Jefferson County Family Court in Birmingham handles cases of juveniles charged with crimes.

www.birminghamal.gov

The City of Birmingham has received grants totaling $2.4 million from the U.S. Department of Justice to expand and enhance its re-entry and public safety initiatives.

The grant will be used to execute the following three goals:

  • Expand services and resources for RESTORE pilot participants, ages 16 to 19
  • Engage in community-informed planning to design and launch RESTORE prevention, intervention and re-entry services to youth ages 11 to 15
  • Enhance the city’s current public safety agenda to include an actionable strategic plan for youth crime reduction, equitable justice policies, and evidence-based programming

“We are grateful for the support of the Department of Justice in our efforts to expand and enhance our re-entry and public safety initiatives,” said Mayor Randall L. Woodfin. “This grant will allow us to provide additional support and resources for our youth, and to enhance a comprehensive strategy to address the root causes of violence in our community.”

The RESTORE juvenile re-entry program is a partnership between the City of Birmingham, Jefferson County Family Court, Jefferson County Family Resource Center, and Jefferson County Juvenile Detention Center. The program provides comprehensive services and support for youth ages 16 to 19 who are currently involved in the juvenile justice system.

RESTORE is in the early stages of a program for youth ages 11 to 15 to focus on providing intervention services to youth who are at risk of involvement in the juvenile justice system.

“The RESTORE program has been very effective in addressing the needs of justice-involved youth, ages 16-19, and has made a significant impact in their rehabilitation,” said Presiding Judge Janine Hunt-Hilliard of Jefferson County Family Court. “RESTORE expansion will allow us to provide similar tools and support to younger children and their families in order to prevent them from becoming involved in the juvenile justice system at all.”

The expansion of the RESTORE program will include additional support and resources for the Jefferson County Family Resource Center. The center provides a variety of services to families, including case management, parenting education, and job training.

“Since its launch in March, the RESTORE program has been able to impact the lives of over 150 youth and their families who have already had contact with Family Court and the justice system,” said Carrie Buntain, Executive Director of Jefferson County Family Resource Center. “The goal of the RESTORE program is to provide wrap-around services to justice-impacted teenagers and their families. The expansion will enable us to provide preventative wrap around services to youth as young as 11-years-old and their families.”

Buntain continued, “Our hope is that we can help families develop skills and provide resources that foster effective communication, promote healthy coping skills and strengthen families in an effort to reduce Family Court involvement, increase school attendance, and build stronger communities. We are so grateful for the incredible support of Jefferson County Family Court and the City of Birmingham.”

The grant will be used to enhance the city’s current public safety agenda to include an actionable strategic plan for youth crime reduction, equitable justice policies, and evidence-based programming. This plan will be developed in collaboration with community partners such as the Housing Authority of the Birmingham District, and will focus on identifying and addressing the root causes of violence in the city.

RESTORE launched in the spring with an initial $225,000 investment from the city. An additional $225,000 was added for the current fiscal year.

The initiative is part of the Woodfin administration’s Common Ground Strategy, which includes:

  • Common Ground conflict resolution program utilizing the H.E.A.T. curriculum for at-risk youth in Birmingham City Schools
  • An annual $1 million investment in mental health support for Birmingham City Schools
  • VIP2 hospital-linked violence intervention program in partnership with Jefferson County Health Department and Offender Alumni Association
  • Safe Haven programs at Birmingham recreation centers

These investments are enhanced by the city’s support to expand early childhood education through Birmingham Talks and the launch of a financial literacy curriculum for students of Birmingham City Schools through the BHM Financial Freedom program.

Combined, these programs are part of an overall engagement in multi-sector collaboration to focus on root causes of violence to enhance the continuance of care to better address prevention and re-entry.