Jacksonville Children’s Commission focusing on role in crime prevention

By Tessa Duvall
January 20, 2016
Florida Times Union

The way the work of the Jacksonville Children’s Commission helps deter crime is poised to take a prominent place in the organization’s forthcoming strategic plan.

The group’s first strategic plan in five years began to take shape Wednesday at the commission’s annual retreat. The full plan will be laid out in a series of six meetings with completion expected in April.

While members said that educational programming will remain the commission’s primary focus, tying that work to its crime-prevention value will be a crucial element of its messaging and outreach going forward.

With renewed interest in the Jacksonville Journey program on the part of the mayor and city council, board member Davy Parrish said, the commission should show how its work aligns with the Journey’s goals.

Just as the board focused on improving the high school graduation rate and coping with city budget cuts in its 2011-12 plan, the current board is looking toward crime.

“I do think the focus of the city will be on crime,” board Chair Matt Kane said. “Incarceration rates in America, and who is incarcerated, what that does for that’s child life — for the entirety of it — is something this commission could have a huge impact on. We could drastically reduce the number of children who are incarcerated.”

Susan Main, president and CEO of the Early Learning Coalition of Duval, said the connection between education and crime prevention is a “no brainer.”

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