The Greene County Family Justice Center was first conceptualized by our community’s Family Violence Task Force, which was founded in 2012 to address the increasing number of domestic assaults within our community. In 2014 The Family Violence Task Force, with representation from 20 governmental and non-profit agencies within the community, began researching the Family Justice Center model, and in January, 2018 funds for the initial startup costs of a Family Justice Center were made available through a partnership between the Springfield Police Department, the Greene County Prosecutor’s Office and the Greene County Sheriff’s Office.
In February, 2018 the National Family Justice Center Alliance, a program of Alliance for Hope International, conducted a Study Tour in Greene County which found our community well-suited to implement the Family Justice Center model. In April, 2018 over 100 individuals from 50 agencies participated in the Greene County Family Justice Center’s two day strategic planning session, with over 60 of those participants serving in a GCFJC Work Group to complete the additional planning needed to implement the Family Justice Center model in Greene County.
The Greene County Family Justice Center (GCFJC) opened October 1, 2018 as the only operating Family Justice Center in Missouri and the first Family Justice Center to receive affiliation with Alliance for Hope International before opening. The GCFJC opened with 7 full-time, on-site partners, including:
- The Victim Center, a local rape crisis center
- Harmony House, a local domestic violence shelter
- Legal Services of Southern Missouri
- Springfield Police Department
- Greene County Sheriff’s Office
- Greene County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office
- Greene County’s Children’s Division
Less than a month after opening, the Child Support Division of Missouri’s Department of Social Services joined the GCFJC as a part-time, on-site partner, and in January, 2019 Greene County Children’s Division added an additional case worker to meet the increased need for services at the GCFJC. In March, 2019 Burrell Behavioral Health joined the GCFJC as a full-time on-site partner, providing an on-site crisis counselor and a community resource specialist to assist GCFJC clients in access vital community resources, including SNAP, Medicaid, and affordable housing, as well as connecting clients to Burrell Behavioral Health’s vast network of programs, including therapy, psychiatric services, substance abuse treatment, and case management. In June, 2019 the Family Justice Center received non-profit status under the name Greene County Family Justice Center Alliance.