Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Helping Parents in Brooklyn


I spent this afternoon in Brooklyn Family Court. Going to Family Court isn't always a happy experience. After all, it is a place of broken marriages, juvenile offenses and family dysfunction. But not today. Today was a graduation ceremony for a unique family support program that we have been piloting with the help of the Family Court and the Human Resources Administration (the City's welfare agency). The goal of the program is to help parents (dads, really) make their child support payments and learn how to interact with their children more effectively. Four men graduated from the program today. Together, they were responsible for making more than $16,000 worth of child support payments. But clearly the program is about both dollars and sense (forgive the horrible pun). As one of the graduates said when he spoke, the initiative is really about "helping the judicial system see beyond the money to the person behind the case." All in all, an impressive day. I'm hoping we can build on this foundation in the days ahead. Kudos to Liberty and her team for organizing.

PS -- Here's a link to a nice photo commemorating the Red Hook Community Justice Center's visit to a firehouse.

PPS -- Center staffer Sarah Schweig has just released her first book of poetry. Haven't read it yet, but if its anything like the work of hers that I have read, it is worth checking out. Click here to order.