Rockdale County was recently awarded several grants to help reduce drug recidivism and break the cycle of crime by strengthening parenting.
The grants, one from the U.S. Department of Justice's Bureau of Justice Assistance and one from the State of Georgia Governor's Office for Children and Families, enhance accountability court programs and public safety in the county.
Positive Parenting Program
The State of Georgia Governor's Office for Children and Families awarded the Rockdale County Judicial Circuit Project, under State Court Judge Nancy Bills, a total of $102,730 to begin the Positive Parenting Program.
In 2011, Rockdale County District Attorney's office reviewed four cases of child fatality and found two of the four had previously substantiated child abuse cases. RCJCT identified a need for broadening support for parents with court cases in Rockdale County.
"That is another component we have found through participants in the past is a missing piece," said Bills at Tuesday night's Board of Commissioners work session. "Some are trying to legitmate their children and build relationships with their children for the first time... We've had instances where people were struggling in our (Accountability Court) program because they were struggling wtih issues at home. Until now, we haven't been able to address those."
"We think this is another holistic way to deal with the people in our program, the children that they're raising, so they're not perpetrating the same cycle."
She recalled one person in the DUI court who ended up with a child cruelty charge in another court.
"When we talked to him, he didn't understand what he had done wrong; that's how he had been parented... We've seen numerous examples where a program like this can help avoid that, avoid another generation that doesn't have the parenting skills."
With the grant, the courts will be able to provide four experienced educators to assess defendants coming into the accountability courts, hold classes, counseling sessions and parenting support groups and provide services for about 40 to 50 people.
Cases under the accountability courts in Rockdale - the DUI Court, Adult Drug Court, Teen Drug Court - can be referred to the Positive Parenting Program.
The expected improved, long-term outcomes for the evidenced-based Triple P Program include reduced recidivism/criminal involvement, lower incidents of child abuse, improved educational outcomes, and a healthier community.
The program works as a compliment to programs run by the Prevent Child Abuse Rockale programs as well, Bills said.
The grant will last one year, with an option of applying for another two years.
Rockdale County Adult Drug Court
The Department of Justice has awarded the Rockdale County Adult Drug Court, under Judge Robert Mumford, $345,000 to begin implementation and enhancement of the Adult Drug Court Discretionary Program. The funds will be used to address issues around a sharp increase in drug-related criminal activity and the impact it has on community safety, as well as offender recidivism rates.
Offenders in the program will be monitored through drug testing and community activity. The program will include intense judicial supervision, as well as the provision of evidenced-based substance abuse treatment, employment support and aftercare services.
Rockdale County Sheriff's Office
Computers for deputy patrol cars
The Department of Justice bureau has also awarded the Rockdale County Sheriff's Office, under Sheriff Eric Levett, $25,843 to upgrade public safety technology equipment. The grant will be used to provide mobile computers for squad cars.