The Jacksonville Network for Strengthening Families, a city-run program that offered classes to families on preventing violence, marriage preparation and divorce prevention and that was eliminated last year when its federal grant money ran out, has been resurrected by FreshMinistries, a Jacksonville interfaith nonprofit group.
According to a story in the Florida Times-Union, independent research on the Jacksonville program showed it worked. FreshMinistries said it would continue to support the family outreach program until it can operate successfully on its own.
The Jacksonville Network for Strengthening Families started in 2005, and had served 5,000 Jacksonville area residents by 2009. Independent studies done on the program showed that it had improved family functioning and reduced recidivism for first-time juvenile offenders.
The classes, which are free of charge to participants and are conducted by volunteers, are held at the Jacksonville Children’s Commission. Classes are also taught at various nonprofits and churches around Jacksonville.
Organizers say the program, which includes courses for both married and engaged couples, will soon be offered through the Department of Children and Families and Family Support Services, and that a pilot program for first-time juvenile offenders and their families is being considered by the State Attorney’s Office.