Programs & Resources
The Fulton County Juvenile Court’s Child in Need of Services (CHINS) Unit proactively works with pre-adjudicated youth to eliminate and reduce formal court involvement by offering resources and services on the front-end. The CHINS Unit collaborates with internal and external service providers and community partners to effectively address status offense behaviors with guidance from CHINS Social Services Coordinators.The CHINS Social Services Coordinators provide individualized case management services which includes: status offense consultations, needs assessments, advocacy, referrals to vetted service providers, and follow-up and monitoring of case plans over 30, 60, 90 day periods to maximize the impact to every child. For more information regarding CHINS services, please email CHINS Administrative Assistant Shandi Kent at Shandi.Kent@fultoncountyga.gov.
Citizen Review Panel
The Citizen Review Panel program utilizes volunteers to conduct legally mandated reviews of the status and welfare of children placed by the Juvenile Court in the legal custody of the Fulton County Department of Family and Children Services to ensure that reasonable efforts are being made to reunify the family or otherwise provide permanency for a child. The program uses volunteers to staff panels which meet periodically to review cases and to ensure that all case plans are appropriate for the family’s needs.
Community Restorative Boards
Community Restorative Boards exercise a prevention strategy to divert first-time, non-violent minor offenders from the formal court process. Sworn citizen volunteers sit on seven Restorative Boards that serve five Atlanta neighborhoods and North and South Fulton County. Citizenry are trained to conduct face-to-face conferences with youth and their parents or guardians. The nature of the offense and its negative consequences are discussed and sanctions to hold the offender accountable are addressed. Sanctions include letters of apology to the victims; community service; restitution; counseling, etc. Probation Officers work with the youth and family to ensure compliance with sanctions issued by the Boards. If the youth completes all sanctions and does not reoffend, the case is dismissed and the youth’s record is sealed.
Family Dependency Treatment Court
The Family Drug Court is a collaborative effort of the Fulton County Juvenile Court, Department of Family and Children Services, its legal counsel, the Fulton County Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities, the Parent Attorney, the Family Drug Court Child Attorney and numerous treatment providers.
The Family Drug Court is a voluntary program established by the Fulton County Juvenile Court as an alternative to the adversarial approach traditionally used in dependencycases.
This intervention model used by the Family Drug Court consists of interrelated components that, when combined, have resulted in the preservation or reunification of families and enhanced permanency in the lives of children while effectively addressing the underlying disease of chemical dependency of the parents.
The participants are required to attend court often and are subject to intensive supervision with input from a multidisciplinary team of professionals led by the judge. The team works together to provide a highly structured and coordinated approach to treating the parent’s disease of substance abuse and addressing resulting parenting deficits, while simultaneously holding parents accountable for their choices and behavior.
The mission of the Family Drug Court is to preserve the family through court intervention by fostering the reunification of families, to improve the quality of life by effectively connecting participants with resources to lead sober and clean lives, maintain healthy relationships and positive outcomes in the areas of education, job training and community connections.
Juvenile Drug Court
Choices is the name of the Fulton County Juvenile Drug Court Program. It is a highly structured, non-adversarial accountability and intervention program, targeting court-involved youth who use alcohol or other drugs.
Choices impacts the juvenile court system by reducing the number of youth in detention facilities for violations of their current conditions of probation or supervision. This intervention focuses on intensive substance abuse treatment and probation supervision, with frequent court appearances, educational support, random drug testing, mentoring, and individual, group and family counseling. The Court awards incentives for compliant behavior and imposes graduated sanctions for negative behavior.
Eligible participants are any Fulton County residents aged 14 to 17 who are on probation or supervision and have alcohol or other drug usage issues. All participants are screened prior to acceptance.
The mission of Choices: Juvenile Drug Court is to reduce substance abuse and recidivism of participants through individual, family, and group interventions and treatment. We strive to empower participants to make better choices by encouraging family and community support.
The Learning Club
The Learning Club is an educational program that serves students within the court system ages 11-17 that have been convicted of misdemeanor crimes. The program provides an alternative to spending time in a juvenile treatment facility. These students are court mandated to attend sessions every Saturday from 12-3PM.
This program provides an opportunity for assessment & mentorship, thought provoking discussion, experience with cultural activities and exposure to college and career opportunities. Often times labeled “at risk” because they are burdened by factors that might impede the learning process, The Learning Club seeks to serve as a protective factor among the many “risk factors” that these students face daily.
The Mediation Program
The Mediation Program is an integral part of both the Probation and Dependency Units... Mediation is used to divert cases from the court that are more appropriately resolved by collaborating with the parties involved. Mediation fosters an environment where the child is directly accountable for his or her actions, addresses the victim’s needs, and models conflict resolution techniques for children and their families. Mediation allows the parties to meet in a private setting where a neutral person, the mediator, helps them to work out a solution to their problems.
S.M.A.R.T. Moves Chess & Mentoring Program
The S.M.A.R.T. Moves Chess and Mentoring Program was founded with the mission of providing activities, services and mentors to help young men prepare for the challenges of manhood and responsible fatherhood. The program was started by a group of Juvenile Court officers who wanted to address the needs of the court-involved young men they encounter on a daily basis.
S.M.A.R.T., an acronym for science, math, arts, reading and technology, brings together a unique group of sheriff’s deputies, probation officers, attorneys, college students and parents to provide homework help and tutoring for teens. Program participants are taught to apply the focus, strategy and decision making skills they use on the chessboard to the problems and challenges they face in their everyday lives.
In the coming months, the program aims to register more teenagers and develop a competitive chess team that will share their personal stories of smart decision making and overcoming obstacles with groups of students from Fulton County and Atlanta Public Schools.
The S.M.A.R.T. Moves Chess and Mentoring Program meets every Friday from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the Romae T. Powell Juvenile Justice Center.