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Coming Together for our Community’s Most Vulnerable Youth

The Children’s Alliance enlists help to create a safety net for Court-involved youth

It’s never too late to choose a new path.

Especially for youth. The Children’s Alliance, a coalition that includes CFSC’s Care Ring, Safe Alliance, Council for Children’s Rights, A Child’s Place, Communities In Schools and Smart Start, along with 34 other nonprofit and governmental organizations, recently signed the Mecklenburg County Youth Coalition (MCYC) agreement. The agreement helps bring together a powerful coalition to steer Court-involved youth to programs that foster their ability to connect with others.

In October, a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) was entered into by:

  • The Juvenile Court Judges of the 26th Judicial District of North Carolina
  • The Department of Public Safety, Division of Adult Correction and Juvenile Justice (DJJ) Mecklenburg County Department of Social Services’ (DSS) Division of Youth and Family Services (YFS)
  • Mecklenburg County District 26 Guardian Ad Litem (GAL) program
  • Council for Children’s Rights (CFCR)
  • Mecklenburg County Juvenile Crime Prevention Council (JCPC)
  • SHIFT, the current Juvenile Court-mandated Community Service and Restitution Program Office of the District Attorney
  • Public Defender’s office

In addition, the following community partners signed on:

  • Children’s Home Society-Wise Guys
  • The Arts Empowerment Project
  • Children’s Alliance
  • Studio 345
  • Tresports

“Council for Children’s Rights is proud to be a standing partner under the Mecklenburg County Youth Coalition [agreement],” said Bob Simmons, Council for Children’s Rights executive director. “MCYC’s child-centered structure affirms the innate worth of each court-involved child by listening to the child’s own voice to identify personal interests, talents and skills and by connecting the child to relevant, relatable and life-affirming pro-social activities that will enrich the child’s life, engage the child with the community and encourage the child to build essential life skills.”

The agreement promises that members of MCYC will work together to identify and connect Court-involved youth to relevant activities to foster their teamwork with others and their cultural awareness.

MCYC is a collaborative leadership group formed in 2015 by the juvenile judges of North Carolina’s 26th Judicial District and other partners. “Court-involved youth” includes:

  • Dependent youth: A youth who has been placed in the custody of the Department of Social Services’ Youth and Family Services (DSS-YFS) based his or her need of assistance or placement
  • Delinquent youth: Any youth under Juvenile Court supervision or Juvenile Court probation or who has pending delinquency, truancy or contempt matters before the Court. This may include youth 16 years of age of older, if they are concurrently on Juvenile Court probation or supervision and under the jurisdiction of Adult District or Superior Court.
  • Juvenile Court youth: Any dependent or delinquent youth who is under the jurisdiction of the Court.

MCYC partners support empower youth to identify programs and activities which nurture their interests, skills and talents and partner with parents and caregivers to connect youth to appropriate, life-affirming programs. The group looks for programs that foster competence, creativity and contribution to society and fosters relationships between youth and caring, competent adults.

“MCYC will lay the foundation for better futures for all of Mecklenburg County’s court-involved children in the only way that can be successful and sustainable,” Simmons said. “One child at a time.”