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Solicitor’s office donates baby care items

On Wednesday, the Troup County Solicitor’s Office donated dozens of diaper and baby care items to the Circle of Care program that services teen and young adult parents.

Troup County Solicitor Sandra Taylor said that approximately a decade ago the solicitor’s office created a Pre-Trial Diversion Program that allows some offenders the opportunity to complete certain requirements in the program to have their case dismissed.

“We give low level or nonviolent offenders an opportunity to change their behavior and not develop a criminal record,” Taylor said. “It gives them the opportunity to get the treatment they need.”

Taylor said they were requiring community service hours in the program but many of the criminal defendants had jobs that require that they work substantive overtime hours. Taylor said they had to find a new way to replace the service hours with something else.

“We’ve allowed them to trade it out,” Taylor said. “We don’t take gift cards. We don’t take cash. They have to go buy these items.”

The solicitor’s office will then in turn donate items to nonprofit agencies in Troup County.

“We’ve found that the impact this has has an impact on the defendants,” Taylor said. (It allows them) to be in a positive position and in a positive light. Where instead of being seen as the defendant, they’re able to turn it into something good for people in community.”

Taylor said it helps return a sense of pride for the defendants.

Defendants have to complete all requirements of the program, which can include attending a certified batterer’s intervention program, anger management program, ASAM evaluation and treatment, DUI school, community service, stay away provisions and other education and therapeutic components. Participants pay for the individual programs and pay a court cost upon completing the program.

Circle of Care Coordinator Dedria Shepherd said the program helps teen moms and young adults with parenting, child developmental screening, transportation, supplies and more.

“We’ve brought people to vote,” Shepherd said. We’ve shown them how to coupon. We’ve had sewing classes. We’ve had community volunteers come in and bankers and teachers. We are kind of like a life coach.”

All the supplies donated on Wednesday will go to the program’s clothing closet.

“If you’re a teen parent, you don’t have a lot of money,” Shepard said.  “That can add a stress and a strain on your parents, so that is our way of helping them to alleviate some of that stress and the strain. Our services are strictly voluntary, free and you just have to be a pregnant or parenting teen living in Troup County.”

If you know of a young person in need of services, contact Shepherd at dshepherd@twincedars.org or call 706-298-2148 ext. 1225.