Children’s Policy Council discusses new youth services program

Published 2:48 am Saturday, March 2, 2024

Getting your Trinity Audio player ready...

The Lowndes County Children’s Policy Council held its regular monthly meeting on Feb. 7 at the Lowndes County Courthouse and heard from representatives of local organizations, discussing upcoming projects that will benefit Lowndes County youth. 

The first topic discussed at the meeting was a program developed by Monica Roland, the Proposal Development Administrator for the Youth Services Institute. 

Roland came before the council hoping to get connected to community members that are licensed to practice independently, such as social workers, counselors, psychiatrists, and psychologists, who are interested in pursuing training to work with community children displaying problematic and/or illegal sexual behavior. 

Email newsletter signup

Roland emphasized the importance for programs like this one, especially since there are no others available in the county. 

“It’s so important that this program be introduced in Lowndes County because it is the right thing to do for children,” Roland. “The right thing for children is to address their behavior in their home environment and community so that they can continue to function there. As long as it keeps the community safe, it tends to cause the least amount of disruption to the entire community.”

The initiative, Roland said, is aimed at providing equitable services for Lowndes County youths. 

“The reality is if a child lives just across the line of Montgomery County, they have options to receive in-home services or go to an office located near them, whereas if the same child does the same offense in Lowndes County, the only option for that child is to be sent away to a residential facility for up to a year and a half,” she explained. “There are certainly kids who do need that, but the large majority of them do not and research shows that kids that receive community-based intervention have about a 98% chance of never reoffending so we strive to do that as much as we can.” 

The program consists of a five-day didactic training at the University of Alabama taking place over the summer as well as a follow up of a full year of monthly consultation sessions with a leading professional in the field. 

Those who are licensed in the medical field and are interested in learning more about the program or signing up are encouraged to contact Roland at or visit the website at

Trevor James, Behavioral Prevention Specialist for the Council On Substance Abuse (COSA), also appeared in front of the council to highlight the services the program provides. 

“COSA services seven different counties including Lowndes, Elmore, Autauga, Dallas, Montgomery, Perry, and Wetumpka,” James said. “We primarily target and serve our youth to prevent them from becoming addicted to substances. We also educate them, so they know what to be on the lookout for and what to say no to.  

James described the various programs COSA offers. 

“In addition to those services, we also have a recovery side of our agency which offers peer support groups and resources for those who may need recovery from addictions. We have several different grants such as the HBCU (historically Black colleges and universities) Rise grants that service Tuskegee University, Alabama State University, and Talladega College. I am the Behavioral Prevention Specialist for Lowndes and Dallas counties so I visit the schools in these places to do  activities, assemblies, presentations, and coalitions.” 

In addition to these topics, the Council heard the following: 

  • AMI Kids now services both Montgomery and Jefferson counties;
  • Dolly Parton Imagination Library is still providing children ages five and under with one free book per month. For more information, families are encouraged to visit the website at;
  • Lowndes County Public Schools Superintendent Samita Jeter gave updates on recent district wide events such as the Lowndes County Science Fair, the ‘Get Lit Bus,’ ACAP (Alabama Comprehensive Assessment Program) practice tests, as well as Life Restaurant’s Cooking Presentation for the Lowndes County youth; 
  • ALL Kids Insurance announced ALL Babies Insurance, a health insurance program for pregnant women that covers parents who are not eligible for Medicaid and are not covered by any other health insurance. As of June 1 of last year, ALL Kids has reached a total of 36 counties and patients interested can complete an application online at
  • Applications for the Sheriff John Williams Memorial Scholarship have been sent out and seniors from each of the Lowndes County high schools are encouraged to apply. The scholarship is now open for previous recipients to apply again; 
  • Members from The Wellness Coalition announced that the Tour of Wellness will be held on Jun. 29 at 9 a.m. in the Hayneville Square. Vendors are welcome and additional information will be released soon. 

The Children’s Policy will not meet in March and will instead host its next meeting on Apr. 3 at 3 p.m. in the courtroom of the Lowndes County Courthouse.