FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Delores Barr Weaver Policy Center Partners to Launch Jacksonville Based Girls Court
JACKSONVILLE, FL – June 5, 2014- On Friday, June 6, Dr. Lawanda Ravoira, president and CEO of the Delores Barr Weaver Policy Center will train more than 125 registered participants including: judges, attorneys, probation officers, detention officers, therapists, residential services staff, educators and case managers in preparation for the launch of a new Fourth Judicial Circuit Florida Girls Court in September 2014.
“This training will focus on the distinct experiences, challenges, strengths and pathways that place girls at risk of entering the justice system,” said Dr. Ravoira. “The impact of trauma including sexual abuse, violence and exploitation will be explored, as well as how the system’s response further exacerbates complex problems by failing to provide girls with appropriate services at the time when they need them the most. The lessons learned from Girls Court in California and Hawaii will be discussed including treatment services and support networks that are essential to success.”
The Fourth Judicial Circuit Florida Girls Court is a voluntary pilot program for girls designed to reduce recidivism, detention and commitments among girls. The Delores Barr Weaver Policy Center and Family Support Services have worked with Circuit Judge David Gooding to establish Girls Court in Northeast Florida. This pilot project is possible because community agencies are coming together with donated time and resources including the State Attorney’s office, Public Defender’s office, Department of Juvenile Justice, System of Care and many other nonprofits. Policy Center researchers will assess the outcomes of the pilot.
“Justice involved girls are not getting their mental health needs addressed. This program will give these girls and young women the opportunity to have services such as therapy and support groups,” said Dr. Lawanda Ravoira.
“This program will help us see the girl, to understand what is driving her behavior so that we can better understand what support and individualized services we can provide to help keep her from further involvement in the justice system,” said Dr. Ravoira.
“Girls Court is a wise investment. By reducing recidivism and commitment to costly residential commitment facilities, Girls Court is a cost effective intervention to effectively meet the mental health and multiple social needs of girls and young women in our community,” said Dr. Ravoira.
Where: Duval County Courthouse, Jury Room (across from courtroom 204)
When: June 6, 2014, 12:00-3:00pm
As a national model for a gender-responsive, community-specific approach to juvenile justice reform, the Policy Center advocates for policies and practices that best support the complex needs of girls in the juvenile justice and foster care systems.
Contact: Blythe Duckworth
1022 Park St. Ste. 301
Jacksonville, FL 32204