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County gets grant for Family Justice Center

District Attorney General Dave Clark announced last week a “large grant” was secured to fund the creation and opening of the Family Justice Center of Anderson County.

Monday, Jan. 11, Anderson County Operations Committee approved, and passed on to the full Anderson County Commission, a resolution to accept the grant.

Earlier in the day, the acceptance of the grant passed through Anderson County’s Purchasing Committe.

A Family Justice Center, Clark told Operations Committee, “Will bring much-needed services to a number of groups in Anderson County who interact with our criminal justice system ...

“It makes things better for them, but also for the entire community.”

Because of the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday, Anderson County Commission met Tuesday night, past The Courier News deadline.

No opposition to the Family Justice Center grant was expected.

One of the selling points is that no taxpayer money is included in the grant funds.

The funds are derived from court costs and other fees collected through the court system.

Clark said in a news release sent out last week, “A family justice center is a place and an organization that provides help to people who are victims of family related problems. There are four groups that will directly benefit: domestic violence victims, sexual assault victims, children who have been victims of physical or sexual abuse, as well as elder-abuse victims.

Victims will go to the Family Justice Center to be introduced to available services and receive services from some 15 partner organizations who are participating in the Family Justice Center. These services may include: law enforcement, prosecution, mental health, civil legal help, temporary housing and many others.”

In 2019, Clark applied for a grant to study the need for a family justice center in Anderson County. As a result, a grant was secured to hire someone within the District Attorney’s Office to evaluate the need for a family justice center in the county.

This first grant found that Anderson County could benefit from the services of a family justice center being offered to its citizens. As a result, the District Attorney’s Office prepared and submitted a grant application to fund the creation of and opening of the center.

The new Family Justice Center of Anderson County will be an arm of Anderson County government.

The grant application was submitted by the district attorney general on behalf of Anderson County.

“With gratitude it is acknowledged that County Mayor Terry Frank and the Anderson County Commission have both graciously and enthusiastically supported the creation of a family justice center in Anderson County. Anderson County government has been very supportive of grant-funded efforts to help Anderson Countians involved in the criminal justice system,” the release said.

The state of Tennessee Office of Criminal Justice Programs provided notice that it was offering a grant to support the Anderson County Family Justice Center over the next 28 months in the amount of $572,052.

Clark remarked, “This grant represents more than one-half-million dollars of outside money that will benefit people from all walks of life and all corners of Anderson County who are in need of justice help.

“Our most tender citizens in the hour of their greatest need will receive a new type of cooperative and convenient help from both existing and new types of providers. This Family Justice Center will not only directly help these victims, but will make the whole community a better and safer place to live. All Anderson Countians will benefit.”

The funds obtained are supplied by the U.S. government to the State of Tennessee.

These funds are obtained from fines, costs and seizures that have been collected from those convicted of crimes in the federal criminal justice system. These are not taxpayer funds.