New director unveils plan for Helping Families

By Staff
Melissa Dozier-Cason, FCT staff writer
The new director of the Franklin County Helping Families Initiative unveiled the program's plan to program partners Friday morning.
Al Hammond, an experienced social worker, has been hired as the director for the Helping Families Initiative. Hammond has served as the director for the Colbert County program since October and will now be in charge of both programs.
"I can't do this alone, so teamwork is important," Hammond said.
Under the plan, a letter from the district attorney's office will go out after a student from any Russellville or Franklin County school is suspended. If the student receives a second suspension, the student will enter the program and will have to comply with the program's requirements.
"This program is designed to fill gaps in other organizations," Hammond said.
Once the student is in enrolled in the program, a family assessment is done to see what challenges the family faces.
That information is used to help the multi-discipline team develop an intervention plan, Hammond added.
The last step is to implement the plan and to monitor compliance, which is not optional for the family or the student.
The program was designed to fight crime before it happens, and those already in the juvenile justice system will not be permitted to participate in the program, Hammond said.
While the participation of school and other agencies' is essential to the success of this program, Hammond is officially an employee of the District Attorney's office.
John Tyson Jr., the District Attorney for Mobile County, developed the Helping Families Initiative and has found success with the program. Franklin County is the third county in the state to adopt the program.