Birmingham's RESTORE juvenile re-entry program aims to help youth placed in state custody
The RESTORE juvenile re-entry program has officially launched in Birmingham. City leaders say the program aims to provide comprehensive services and support for youth ages 16 to 19 who have been placed in state custody for a minimum of 30 days at a Department of Youth Services placement, the G. Ross Bell Detention Center or any DYS diversion facility.
RESTORE is a partnership with the City of Birmingham, Jefferson County Family Court, Jefferson County Family Resource Center (JCFRC) and Jefferson County Juvenile Detention Center. The program is expected to serve 120 juveniles over a 12–month period.
“We know that 69% of the youth ages 13 to 22 who were murdered last year had prior family court contact. 38% of the perpetrators under the age of 22 charged with murder or attempted murder last year had prior family court contact,” Mayor Randall L. Woodfin said in a press release.
“RESTORE will provide impactful intervention for this population at risk with support and services not just for the youth but their family, too,” explained Woodfin.
The city is reportedly providing $225,000 to support the program, according to a press release on the City of Birmingham's website. “This is a program that I believe will make a significant impact on the lives of children and families within the Birmingham community as well as the entire Jefferson County community,” said Presiding Judge Janine Hunt–Hilliard with Jefferson County Family Court. “We have children in family court that I believe, if given all the services, not only to them but to their families, will make a significant impact in their lives and change their trajectory. And that is what we intend to do.”
The program is designed to provide multiple services and support including:
- Comprehensive family intake and assessment
- Intense strength-based case management
- Benefits assessment
- Pay for essential documents such as State ID
- Creation of a participant educational/career plan
- Transportation for participants
- Provision of work/training equipment, clothing, testing/certification/licensure costs
- Work with families to ensure safe housing and stability
- Advocacy, systems navigation and community-based services
Using trauma-informed case management across all programs, the JCFRC facilitates the SAFE Care Program, which addresses substance use disorder in expecting or new mothers and their families; the ARESET adult workforce development program, created to provide participants with the skills, resources, and support needed to become self-sufficient; the Adolescent Workforce Development Program specifically designed to provide supportive educational and career pathways to 16–19-year-old youth; and EPIC Parenting Classes, held three times a week at different locations, days, and times to accommodate participant schedules.
Offering critical support to families in crisis, the JCFRC partners with Jefferson County Family Court to help stabilize families involved with the juvenile justice system by offering strength-based wrap-around services designed to improve educational outcomes, facilitate technical and vocational job growth, empower families, reduce domestic violence and promote stable, healthy relationships.
Implementation of the RESTORE program is part of the Woodfin administration’s effort to address violent crime through a focus on the root causes of violence to enhance the continuance of care to better address prevention and re-entry in addition to enforcement. This fiscal year, the city has committed:
- $1 million to Common Ground, a conflict resolution program utilizing the H.E.A.T. curriculum for at risk youth in Birmingham City Schools
- $1 million for a second year of mental health support for Birmingham City Schools students
- $2.1 million as a funding-partner with the Jefferson County Department of Health in a hospital-linked violence intervention program
- $1 million for Safe Haven programs at Birmingham recreation centers
These investments are enhanced by the city’s support to expand early childhood education through Birmingham Talks and a financial literacy curriculum for Birmingham City Schools students with the BHM Financial Freedom program.