HMFI


Helping Montgomery Families Initiative History

In 2007 The Montgomery County District Attorney's Office established a partnership with the Montgomery Public Schools (MPS) Superintendent to create HMFI with the support of government officials and community leaders. The partnership is a collaboration of local law enforcement, healthcare professionals, mental health, social services, faith-based organizations, juvenile justice agencies and other organizations with the primary focus of intervening in the lives of school children who have been suspended from school but not charged with a criminal offense.

HMFI began providing intervention and prevention services to MPS students and families in February 2008 by piloting the program within 10 schools. Services were expanded during the month of March, 2008 to include all schools.


CHALLENGES

Many children in our community face insurmountable odds on a daily basis that impede their ability to be successful in school. Children may be exposed to domestic violence, drugs, gangs, homelessness, sexual abuse, poverty, and lack of basic necessities. As a result, children may exhibit unacceptable behaviors in school that result in multiple suspensions. HMFI seeks to identify the root of the problem that prevents a child from behaving in an appropriate manner in school.

A child may be fighting because of not having the appropriate clothing and being teased by
classmates. A child may not be able to pay attention because he or she did not have food to eat. A parent may have mental health needs that are not being addressed which significantly impact the entire
family.

A comprehensive assessment process and a multi- disciplinary approach is utilized to assist children and their families. Families are linked to services within the community that may address their specific needs and strengthen the family unit as a whole. HMFI has developed over 50 community partnerships with agencies that provide a diverse array of services. Families served are linked to services on a weekly basis.


OVERVIEW OF THE PROCESS

The referral is initiated by a student’s suspension from school.
HMFI obtains a suspension report for all suspensions that occurred in the previous week.
Suspension reports are reviewed to identify students that meet the criteria.
A first letter of concern from the DA is sent to the parents or guardians.
If there are no further infractions, no additional contact is required and the student is tracked for the remainder of a school term.
An assessment letter is sent if a second suspension occurs.
A Case Officer is assigned and completes the North Carolina Family Assessment Scale-G version with the family.
The case is submitted to the Multi-Disciplinary Team for the purpose of assisting with the development of an Individualized Intervention Plan (IIP).
Students and families are linked through their IIP to existing community resources.
Case Officers monitor the families’ compliance.
The case is closed upon completion of the IIP.