Commissioners Approve Funding to Level Up Program
By a unanimous vote, the Fulton County Board of Commissioners approved the $120,000 in funding to start the Project Level Up, an endeavor to be administered by the Fulton County District Attorney’s Office and the Office of the Public Defender, Atlanta Judicial Circuit. The program seeks to reduce arrests and violence involving juvenile offenders by intervening in the lives of these young people.
“Our hope is that a program like this one can help address both the crime that plagues so many of our communities and the need for viable opportunities for our young people as an alternative to the streets,” says Fulton County Commission Chairman Robb Pitts. “Our hope is that this will yield tangible results in each of these areas.”
“I am pleased that the District Attorney’s Project Level Up Juvenile Recidivism Intervention Program was approved unanimously today with my colleagues voting in favor of releasing the funding that I set aside for this program. Project Level Up is a program that will be used to combat the juvenile crime epidemic in Fulton County,” says Fulton County District 4 Commissioner Natalie Hall. “I am excited to see this program begin to help support the lives of our young people and their families”
Project Level Up is an intervention program which would provide juvenile repeat offenders with three or more arrests with an aftercare program, mentoring opportunities, and family intervention. If a young person is identified for participation in Level Up, the offender is assigned a caseworker and provided with services to aid the young person in staying away from a life of crime. If the juvenile graduates from Level Up, the charges currently pending against the offender would be dismissed. The funding approved would pay for the salaries of 4 staffers through the end of 2019 as the program is developed and planned.
The Fulton County Division of Youth and Community Services and the Public Defender’s Office are among the agencies that would support family intervention efforts while several area houses of worship have pledged support for mentoring efforts for the at-risk young people targeted by the program. Among the organizations that have pledged to assist in aftercare, efforts are the Atlanta Police Foundation, the @ Promise Center, the YMCA, Boys, and Girls Club, as well as other community partners.