The Rockdale County Evening Reporting Center (ERC) is a short term, non-secure detention alternative facility intended to supervise, assist, and serve juveniles and their parents who have been referred by the Rockdale County Juvenile Court. Attendance hours are between 4:00 p.m. until 9:00 p.m., for up to four days a week. The average length of participation is twenty to thirty days.
The ERC provides academic tutoring, counseling, recreational activities, technology classes, and parental involvement in a structured and interactive learning environment. The hours of operation are consistent with national data that demonstrates the majority of juvenile crimes occur between 4:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m.
Evening Reporting Centers are usually community-based alternatives to the detention of juveniles. The Rockdale Juvenile Court is the first juvenile court in Georgia to implement an ERC through a grant from Georgia's Children's and Youth Coordinating Council (CYCC), by way of the Rockdale Coalition for Children and Families, and along with the assistance of the Rockdale County Board of Commissioners.
ERC serves those juveniles who would otherwise be held in a lock-down youth detention facility while awaiting a court hearing because of their previous record in concert with being newly charged with the commission of a crime, or, because of a history of run-away
As a pre-adjudication program, the ERC will also work with the youth's family by providing a highly-structured program of supervision and group activities during the afternoon and evening hours. Participants will also be offered an evening meal, homework assistance, organized recreation, creative arts, cultural activities, and life skills. Program staff will link youth to appropriate services and activities in order to support their success after leaving the program.
The goal of the ERC is to maintain high-risk juveniles while awaiting court adjudication from committing new law violations or from failing probation requirements, which could result in further and more restrictive detention.
Rockdale County has provided space, including utilities as an in-kind donation. The area includes office space for staff, a fully equipped kitchen and several activity rooms for the various programs offered. Furnishings for this space have been donated and include over a dozen computers from Helping Hands.
In addition to the hired staff, the ERC has the assistance of the University of Georgia School of Social Work through their placement of Graduate School of Social Work students who will work with the assigned juveniles under the supervision of clinicians from Rockdale Mental Health.
Judge William Schneider of the Rockdale Juvenile Court looks to having the ERC serve as a model for other juvenile courts in Georgia, and also anticipates expanding the program to serve those juveniles who are placed upon probation under court supervision.
For further information on the ERC and its programs, contact Mary Hogan with the Rockdale County Juvenile Court.