With 2020 coming to a close, we wanted to bring you up to date on the progress we have made in our community in opening a Family Justice Center.

A Family Justice Center is a one-stop-shop for victims of domestic violence, child abuse, elder abuse, and sexual assault — where they can have access to the full range of services and resources necessary for them to feel safe so they can begin to build a better life for the future.

The idea of a Family Justice Center came out of a retreat meeting for our board of directors more than three years ago. It was at that retreat, that our directors decided that Forsyth County needed to take the next step in providing state-of-the-art services to victims of interpersonal violence. So Family Services went about convening a wide coalition of private and public organizations that would be partners in creating a Family Justice Center, including Forsyth County government, local police departments, the sheriff’s office, the District Attorney’s office, Legal Aid, the Children’s Law Center, the Parenting Path and Family Services.

This group began planning the Family Justice Center more than two years ago — meeting monthly to bring all these elements together in a way that was going to be a safe haven for victims of interpersonal violence.

Family Services was not only a key part of this in terms of convening this group, but also in making the financial resources available.  Through grants we submitted and funds the agency had available, we were able to marshal over $100,000 to make this process work. Part of those funds invested included bringing in the internationally recognized Alliance for Hope from San Diego, CA, to do a strategic planning process involving more than 200 people, organizations, and faith-based groups meeting, discussing, and planning what it was exactly that Forsyth County needed and how that might look.

From those meetings came a much more focused planning process that really got into the nuts and bolts of what it takes to staff such a facility, to house it, to design and equip it — a tremendous amount of detail went into this planning process.

Family Services was also able to obtain a grant for approximately $80,000 in furnishings and new equipment for the Family Justice Center. All of this is coming together so that early next year, the Family Justice Center will open in the space where Safe on Seven is currently located in the Behavioral Health Plaza on Highland Avenue.

The purpose of a Family Justice Center is to wrap services and support around those impacted by interpersonal violence – to offer safety, hope, healing, strength, and belonging. There are more than 100 Family Justice Centers in the United States.

A Family Justice Center goes well beyond co-location of services. In the Family Justice Center model, each partner agency re-aligns how it collaborates with the other partners to support victims and survivors. Many services are provided in one safe location.

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