More than 100 community leaders and residents will participate in a two-day strategic planning session on Aug. 27 and 28 to lay the foundation for a future Family Justice Center in Forsyth County.

Family Services has invited Casey Gwinn, who co-founded the nation’s first Family Justice Center in San Diego in 2002, and his team from the Family Justice Center Alliance, a program of Alliance for HOPE International, as the next step in the planning process. The Alliance team visited Forsyth County in late January for an initial Study Tour which brought local elected officials, policy makers, and government and community-based agencies together to start the planning process for Forsyth’s proposed Family Justice Center.

Family Justice Centers are one-stop locations designed to serve those impacted by domestic violence, sexual violence, child abuse and elder abuse. There are more than 100 similar centers now operating in the U.S. In North Carolina, Family Justice Centers are operating in several counties including Guilford, Buncombe, and Alamance.

Family Services President and CEP Bob Feikema said the upcoming strategic planning process will accomplish two tasks.

“First, our community will think big in order to create a compelling vision for a Family Justice Center in Forsyth County. Then, we will identify all the details that will need to be addressed over the next year to make that vision a reality,” he said.

The proposed center will help survivors of family violence and their families get the resources and support they need at one location – bringing together law enforcement officers, prosecutors, advocates, therapists, civil attorneys, social service providers, community volunteers, and many others.

Deputy Forsyth County Manager Ronda Tatum, who has been serving on the Forsyth County Family Justice Center Steering Committee, emphasized that this co-located model would help provide hope to those who need it most.

“The Family Justice Center will offer comprehensive services in one location, eliminating the need for victims to go from one location to another,” she said. “It can be a win/win for all involved.”