Family Justice, a New York-based agency that was a pioneer in the method of helping the entire family of a child involved in the child welfare or juvenile justice systems, not just the child, will cease operations in the fall, a victim of the nation's economic woes.
In a letter e-mailed to colleagues and friends on Tuesday, July 7, founder Carol Shapiro said that the endeavor is seeking ways to continue its work in another form. A spokesman for the agency confirmed that Family Justice is closing but said no exact date has been set. He referred other questions to Shapiro, who did not return the telephone request for an interview.
Shapiro, who founded Family Justice in 1995, said in her e-mail that "especially given the growing demand for our cost-effective and highly successful innovations, it seems difficult to imagine transitioning out of business. A lethal combination of diminishing private support and work conducted on a reimbursement basis, however, leaves us little choice."
According to Family Justice's tax return for the year that ended June 30, 2007, the agency had operating expenses of almost $2.4 million and a deficit of $678,282. Shapiro's e-mail said she was making the announcement with a "heavy heart and profound pride" for Family Justice's accomplishments.
According to the group's website, www.familyjustice.org, one of the group's direct service locations in New York, La Bodega de la Familia, serving the East Village and Lower East Side, has already closed, and its second location, Family Bodega in the Brownsville/East New York area of the city, will close Aug. 28.
The agency had announced recently that it was refocusing its work on training and technical assistance rather than direct services, and it is in that form that Family Justice apparently will continue to exist.
The group's website lists 19 people at its Broadway headquarters. It is unclear how many of these employees will be affected by the closing.