In 1999, recognizing that state and county level agencies or organizations are often unaware of the activities of other agencies, the Alabama legislature revised a 1975 law that mandated local juvenile judges to form local Juvenile Justice Coordinating Councils. The revised law replaced the Juvenile Justice Coordinating Councils with local county Children’s Policy Councils. The Alabama Children’s Policy Council system is designed to support providers of children’s services as they work collaboratively in developing community service plans to address the needs of children ages 0-19 and their families. By creating a CPC in each county, the unique needs of each community can be addressed. At the state level, these local needs become the driving force for children’s policies.

Each of the councils is also given fiscal and programmatic responsibilities for the local council. The law also specifies fifteen categories of mandated members of the councils while giving each council the responsibility for selecting an additional seven at-large members. By purposely bringing together agency, organization and community members, children’s services are more likely to be delivered as a collaborative effort rather than taking place in isolation, often resulting in duplication of efforts or missed opportunities to provide services. The same law created a state children’s policy council. The state council members include the head of every state agency that affects children, the state’s leading children’s advocates, and political figures.

Throughout the year, CPC members review the needs of children and families in their community then report their results in a Needs Assessment. This Needs Assessment serves as a blueprint for the counties, state, and legislators to assign priorities to needs and implement programs and services to provide for the needs.

The county Children’s Policy Councils are assisted by staff from the Department of Children’s Affairs.

The Covington County Children’s Policy Council meets on the fourth Tuesday of each month from 3:00-4:00pm at the Covington County Board of Education. We meet every month except for June, July, and December.

Drug Free Communities Support Program
The Covington County Children’s Policy Council is a Drug Free Communities grantee. The Drug Free Communities Support Program (DFC) is a federal grant program that provides funding to community-based coalitions that organize to prevent youth substance use. Since the passage of the DFC Act in 1997, the DFC Program has funded more than 2,000 coalitions and currently mobilizes nearly 9,000 community volunteers across the country. The philosophy behind the DFC Program is that local drug problems require local solutions. With a small federal investment, the DFC Program doubles the amount of funding through the DFC Program’s match requirement, to address youth substance use. Recent evaluation data indicate that where DFC dollars are invested, youth substance use is lower. Over the life of the DFC Program, youth living in DFC communities have experienced reductions in alcohol, tobacco, and marijuana use.

The law requires the county Children’s Policy Councils to do the following:

•    Hold quarterly meetings, although councils may meet as often as they wish
•    Create and submit a Needs Assessment by July 1st of each year
•    Submit an Annual Resource Directory
•    Maintain the mandated membership as follows:
   •    Juvenile Judge (chairperson)
   •    Department of Human Resources
   •    Department of Mental Health and Mental Retardation
   •    Department of Youth Services
   •    Department of Rehabilitation Services
   •    Medicaid Agency
   •    Department of Public Safety
   •    Alcoholic Beverage Control Board
   •    Superintendent(s) of Education
   •    Chief Juvenile Probation Officer
   •    County Health Department
   •    District Attorney
   •    Local Legislators
   •    Chairperson of the County Commission
   •    Appoint at least seven members at large who are from the community and interested in children’s issues