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Family Resource Center Guides Youths, Families Toward Hope

I’d like to share a progress report on one of the best new programs we launched last year, the Volusia Family Resource Center.

First, a quick reminder of what it’s all about. The FRC is a one-stop shop we created to connect juveniles and their families with all the agencies and service providers they need following an encounter with law enforcement.

In some cases, these are kids who have been arrested for thefts, burglaries, car breaks, and gun crimes. In other cases, they haven’t committed any crime at all—they ran away from home, missed school, or were victims of abuse or neglect.

Whatever the case may be, when we get these kids into the FRC, we can process them, give them a comprehensive screening, and get them started in the right programs from our criminal justice and social service partners who are right there on site.

Since opening the FRC’s doors in November, we have seen more than 1,000 kids come through the doors. That includes about 500 Sheriff’s Office cases and more than 500 from all our area police departments, plus the Flagler, Putnam, and St. Johns Sheriff’s Offices, in addition to the Florida Highway Patrol and Department of Juvenile Justice (DJJ).

It truly is a collaborative, regional effort that benefits everyone. In addition to DJJ, our partners include the Children’s Home Society, Halifax Behavioral Services, and Hope Florida, a Department of Children and

Families program that provides navigators to guide families toward better opportunities.

Besides helping to steer our youth in a more positive direction, the FRC is also proving to be a valuable crime prevention asset. During the screening process, we’re able to collect information, intelligence, and data that’s helpful in both current and future investigations. We’re also running an ankle monitor program for the entire county out of the FRC. For those young offenders who do decide to reoffend, today we are better able to quickly identify them, find them, and intervene.

We all know that juvenile crime has been an issue in our community. With the Family Resource Center finally up and running, I believe we are making pro-gress. No program can replace effective parenting, positive role models, good education, and a variety of extracurricular and after-school activities. When all else fails, the Family Resource Center is there to provide the right combination of accountability, consequences, resources, and services delivered to the kids and families who need them most.

You can find the FRC at 3747 W. International Speedway Blvd., Daytona Beach, by calling 386.254.1512, or e-mailing family@volusiasheriff.gov

Sheriff Mike Chitwood