Helping Families Initiative

The Helping Families Initiative (HFI) is a crime-prevention effort designed to improve family functioning, child well-being and educational outcomes. HFI connects families to resources and provides case management support before families encounter the juvenile justice system.

HFI partners with schools to recognize warning signs like unexcused absences and suspensions, and then conducts in-home assessments to identify root causes of dangerous behavior. A multi-disciplinary team provides insight and information across multiple agencies to craft an individualized intervention plan for each family. Empowering families with resources and support helps students attend school consistently and behave in accordance with school policies.

Referrals for HFI come from school personnel in our eight pilot schools in Birmingham and Tarrant (Avondale Elementary, Hayes K-8, Oliver Elementary, Putnam Middle, Woodlawn High, Tarrant Elementary, Tarrant Intermediate, and Tarrant High).

Chronic absenteeism and disciplinary infractions reduce the likelihood of a student graduating on time and negatively impact reading proficiency. Gaining a good education is crucial for students to avoid a future life of crime.

For more information on the Helping Families Initiative, call 205-264-8181.

Resources for Parents:

Alabama Compulsory School Attendance Law 16-28-12, Code of Alabama, 1975

Summary: Parents are responsible to ensure all children between the ages of six (6) and seventeen (17) attend school regularly and behave properly. Principals and superintendents must report student absences and behavior violations regularly to the district attorney. District attorneys shall vigorously enforce this section to ensure proper conduct and required attendance.

What Families Can Do:

  • Find out what day school starts and make sure your child has the required shots.
  • Build regular routines for bed time and the morning.
  • Talk about the importance of regular attendance and about how your child feels about school.
  • Don’t permit missing school unless your child is truly sick. Use a thermometer to check for a fever. Remember that stomach aches and headaches may be signs of anxiety.
  • Avoid medical appointments and extended trips when school is in session.
  • Develop back up plans for getting to school if something comes up. Ask a family member, neighbor or another parent for help.
  • Submit doctor’s excuses and parent notes within three days and follow up with the school to ensure absences are excused on your student’s record.