DATE: April 5, 2013
MEDIA CONTACT: Michael Elwell, Director
Broward County Human Services Department
Several Broward County agencies embrace the theme of this year’s National County Government Month, “Smart Justice: Creating Safer Communities.” The theme of Smart Justice provides residents with an opportunity to learn about the programs and services provided by the Broward County Commission, along with the impact they have in the community. Broward County Commissioners will formally proclaim April as "National County Government Month" at the Board's April 9 meeting.
An educational display, highlighting County programs that contribute to helping communities be safe, is featured throughout the month in the lobby of the Governmental Center, 115 S. Andrews Ave., Fort Lauderdale.
The Smart Justice display features some of the many ways Broward County agencies collaborate with law enforcement and justice systems to ensure happier, healthier and safer communities. These programs provide alternatives to incarceration and others provide services that ease the transition back to employment, housing and self-sufficiency for those who may be exiting the justice system.
• Broward Addiction Recovery Center (BARC) provides substance abuse treatment for those participating in the 17th Judicial Circuit’s Adult Drug Court and Misdemeanor Court. This alternative to traditional incarceration is offered to first time, nonviolent criminal offenders charged with the purchase and/or possession of a controlled substance or other substance abuse related offenses.
• Civil Citation program, introduced to Broward County in 2012, provides an innovative alternative to formal arrests for youth under age 18 who have committed misdemeanor crimes. In partnership with local law enforcement and the court system, the Civil Citation program ensures that first-time juvenile offenders receive appropriate consequences for their actions. The average cost savings for the taxpayer is $4,420 per juvenile offender.
• Nancy J. Cotterman Center (NJCC) has a history of collaboration with community stakeholders, including the court system, the State Attorney’s Office, Broward Sheriff’s Office and law enforcement agencies. These collaborations have resulted in an 80 percent increase in court testimony on behalf of the victims of children abuse and sexual violence. Staff also provide services to inmates who are victims of sexual violence in cooperation with Just Detention International, a health and human rights organization that works to end sexual violence in the prison system.
• Family Success Centers work with homeless individuals and those who may find themselves homeless after transitioning from incarceration or residential substance abuse programs. The Housing Options Program offers two types of supportive housing, including NewHART, which offers case management and housing for residents who have become homeless and suffer from substance abuse disorder; and HART and HOME, which offers case management and housing for the chronically homeless with substance abuse disorders.
• Libraries Division offers programs and services to all residents to assist their employment search and develop new skills. These services are free, with many available online. For more information on the Broward County Library Learning Services, call 954-357-6230 or email email@example.com.
Included as part of the County's Smart Justice exhibit is information about the new Broward County Courthouse, which is currently under construction. Visit broward.org/Newcourthouse.
National County Government Month, a National Association of Counties (NACo) program observed nationwide each April, is designed to raise awareness of the roles and responsibilities of county government.