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Georgia's Children's Cabinet: Juvenile Justice Monthly Wrap-Up

February 25, 2013

 Georgia Children’s Cabinet: Juvenile Justice Monthly Wrap-Up

                To highlight Juvenile Justice Month, the Georgia Children’s Cabinet visited multiple sites dedicated to serving, rehabilitating and supporting our juvenile offenders across the state throughout February.  The Cabinet chose to tour juvenile justice focused sites to support the Governor and First Lady’s vision of seeing improvements in the juvenile justice system.

The Children’s Cabinet’s first visit of the month was the Gainesville Regional Youth Detention Center in Gainesville, GA.  During the tour First Lady Deal, Commissioner Avery Niles (Department of Juvenile Justice-DJJ) and Executive Director of the Governor’s Office for Children and Families (GOCF), Katie Jo Ballard, had the opportunity to speak with the center’s administrators, teachers and students.  The Department of Juvenile Justice provides a variety of services including: education, individual guidance and counseling, and medical services during the youth’s short stay at each Regional detention center.

  *First Lady Deal speaks with Gainesville RYDC center’s administrators, teachers and students.

The next stop on the Children’s Cabinet Juvenile Justice Tour led to Newton County. GOCF provides funding to support an evening reporting center for the Newton County Juvenile Court to utilize. This program is designed to divert youth from detention centers and provide them with community supports. The First Lady and Cabinet members had the opportunity to visit with youth and their families whom had graduated from the alternative programs. “Thank you for sharing your stories, and connecting us back to the reason we are all here” said director Ballard.

The Department of Juvenile Justice also oversees the detention centers across the State; these are long term confinement facilities.  The Cabinet toured the Atlanta Youth Development Center (YDC) that opened in April of 2012. The programming provides a foundation that challenges youth and provides the necessary skills to allow them to re-enter the community successful. During the tour, the First Lady and the Cabinet members toured the facilities and interacted with students.

*From Left to Right: Commissioner Niles, First Lady Sandra Deal, and Executive Director Katie  Jo Ballard discuss with an  Atlanta YDC student the impact of making the right decisions and preparing to re-enter the community.

The Georgia Children’s Cabinet would like to thank all those who took part in making Juvenile Justice Month a success. A special thank you goes out to First Lady Sandra Deal, for her dedication to Juvenile Justice reform in the State of Georgia.  

Next month the Children’s Cabinet will focus on the First Lady’s “Read Across Georgia” campaign. The month will kick off with a press conference from the steps of the Capitol on March 4th