Last week marked the grand opening of the Alamance County Family Justice Center in Burlington. The Center is a centralized building that serves to de-clutter the process for those in Alamance County seeking justice. The new system houses eight non-profit and government agencies under one roof for help with domestic situations, child maltreatment and sexual assault. The services offered onsite advocacy, childcare, counseling, court support, food bank, law enforcement, legal assistance and court representation, assistance with immigration, assistance with restraining orders, phones (cell phones, phones on site and phone cards), public benefits, safety planning, support groups for victims, transportation and victims compensation.
Domestic violence is a significant issue in Alamance County, but this Center is designed to help ease the trauma by offering centralized services. Previously, victims would need to begin in the Clerk of Court’s office or with the magistrate and travel to different building to see the appropriate people at different stages. With the new Family Justice Center, all of the necessary services are under one roof. Action is taken effectively and it is harder for abuses to continue or to be repeated. When the various aspects of the justice process do not work together, there is a greater chance of repeat offenses.
I am pleased with the leaps and bounds that are accomplished with the opening of this center. It is the first of its kind in North Carolina, and is a responsible way to use county money. The center does not create any new services that are costly to Alamance citizens but rather is centralization at the benefit of the people. A great deal is owed to the initiative of Joy Ciriano, who worked at Family Abuse Services and who died in March 2010 of cancer. The center is dedicated to her memory and her work will live on in the work at the new center. I congratulate all those who have worked tirelessly to make the Family Justice Center a reality. It was truly a pleasure to have had a legislative part in this project enabling legislative authorization for electronic filing of the 50B and 50C orders – an entirely new procedure in North Carolina.
The Alamance County Family Justice Center is located at 1950 Martin Street in Burlington. You can reach the center at 336-570-6019.