Project Strength is a new grant funded initiative through the Erie County Public Defender’s Office. The goal of the program is to reduce the number of out-of-home placements for children resulting from child dependency/neglect cases and truancy issues. The goal of the program is to connect families and children to resources sooner, including legal assistance, to increase the chances of positive outcomes.
Our team will consist of Public Defender, T. Douglas Clifford, Assistant Public Defenders, Kelli Jelinger and Alyssa Sidelka; Licensed Social Worker, Emily Foreman, and a parent peer support advocate, Stacie Myers, to provide a holistic approach to address each family’s individual needs. Our team will work collaboratively to identify families in need with our community partners and work to link them to needed community resources.
Our main objectives will be to 1) identify families prior to a child dependency case; 2) Assist in connecting families to needed services 3) reduce the number of removal cases resulting from truancy and contributing to delinquency of a minor 4) provide families with pre-petition services; 5) produce better outcomes to strengthen families, schools, and the community at large.