Our Restorative Justice (RJ) programs are our staple programs that provide an alternative to traditional punitive consequences found in the criminal justice system. Our RJ programs focus on healing and not causing further harm or broken lives through retribution. Restorative Justice focuses on building relationships, transforming lives and creating a community of accountability anchored in love not punishment. Our programs are incorporate storytelling and relationship building, truth-telling, reparative action, focus on the strengths of the youth, and connect participants to traditional cultural ways of accountability.
In response to feed-back from various stakeholders and the needs of youth and their families, CCFC has evolved in many amazing ways. We have continued to embrace values that focus on healing harm that has been caused and have taken Restorative Justice to a deeper level of Transformative Justice.
CCFC captures Transformative Justice (TR) by taking the principles and practices of Restorative Justice beyond the criminal justice system. It is a way of practicing alternative justice (and in our case healing justice) which acknowledges individual experiences, identities and societal factors and works to actively resist the criminalization of youth, keep them in school, out of the criminal justice system and transform the systems that cause harm.
The focus of TR is to begin a journey of transformational healing for youth, families, and community by focusing on the root causes of harm (crime). This is done by addressing generational wounds and trauma caused by societal oppression (racism, poverty, etc.) to inspire youth to empathize with survivors of crime and heal the harm they’ve caused and transform decision making .
Transformative Justice also actively works to transform systems that cause harm to particular communities, especially communities of color through systems such as the school to prison pipeline, mass incarceration, and the prison industrial complex.
On the heels of the not-guilty verdict of the Trayvon Martin murder in Florida youth and families began to express feelings of fear, paranoia, anxiety, hopelessness and depression as youth became triggered by seeing a young Black man murdered by racist violence. Youth expressed, although they didn’t know Trayvon, they felt connected to him, he was just like them, wore hoodies, watched the NBA All Star game, and ate snacks from 7-11.
CCFC moved into action by holding several focus groups at schools with students, parents/guardians, staff and administration and our community partners. Based on those findings our Youth Leadership Institute was developed in response to youth participants and community expressing a need for after school and summer programming that focuses on supporting the healing of youth of color, developing resiliency, positive social emotional health, and leadership rooted in their various identities that inspires civic engagement and activism. Youth wanted a place to talk about the unique issues that impacted them and learn how they can find their power and make change that benefits them and their peers.
Although we are a youth serving organization and our work is centered around positive youth development we understand that creating a positive safety net for youth includes supporting families and guardians. We have two programs that provide support, healing and skill development for families and women.