Outcome Summary

The former superintendent of the Mobile County School System, the largest in the state, reported that 80 percent of those who participated in Helping Families were not suspended again in the next 12 months for any reason. [1]

Helping Families statistics show 93 percent of Helping Families “graduates” were not suspended again during the following year. [2]

The Montgomery County School System reported the program reduced unexcused absences by 24.5 percent since the 2012-2013 term period. School suspensions in this system were reduced by 30 percent during the same time period. [3]

The Alabaster City Schools followed a young man assisted by Helping Families. Despite being homeless and a school dropout, he earned his high school diploma, has an impressive employment history and was never arrested. [4]

Eighty-two percent of Helping Families graduates had not been arrested the following year. Fifty-five percent of all suspended Mobile County public school students had an active or disposed juvenile record. [5]

Sixty-nine percent of families completing the Helping Families program showed overall improvement in functioning. [6]

Research on 218 youth who successfully completed the Helping Families program between 2008-2013 showed that 75 percent of them had no involvement with the justice system after their cases were closed. [7]

The high school graduation rate at Alabaster City Schools increased from 90 percent to 97 percent over two years. The improvement is 70 percent of the last remaining 10 percent prior to Helping Families services. [8]

Statistically significant improvements in overall family and student functioning were achieved in five domains (environment, parental capability, family interaction, family safety, child well-being) examined using the North Carolina Family Assessment Instrument. [9]

“Possibly the most significant benefit of the SFI (Helping Families in Shelby County) approach is that it seeks to address the underlying issues associated with a student’s lack of school success, and not just the outward symptom that is manifesting itself through poor school attendance and/or out of school suspension. Through addressing a family’s deeper needs, it’s possible that we can change that family’s circumstances and break the cycle of repetitive poor school performance for the child.” (SFI is Shelby County’s version of Helping Families) [10]


  1. The Long Arm of the Law, by Leslie A. Maxwell, Education Week, 2006
  2. Program Report, The Helping Families Initiative, page 11, 2009-2010
  3. Helping Montgomery Families Initiative (HMFI), 2014-2015 Highlights, Daryl Bailey, District Attorney, 15th Judicial Circuit of Alabama.
  4. Letter, L. Wayne Vickers, Superintendent, Alabaster City Schools, February 8, 2016.
  5. Mobile County District Attorney Partners with Schools to Prevent Crime, Help Families in Unique Initiative, by Simmons, The Prosecutor, May/June 2006
  6. Make the Right Choice Helping Families Initiative... A School/Community Collaboration, Persistently Safe Schools: The National Conference of Hamilton Fish Institute on School and Community Violence, 2004
  7. Daryl Bailey — Helping Montgomery Families Initiative, Fact Sheet, Press Conference, August 22, 2014
  8. Alabaster City Schools, Superintendent Letter, February 8, 2016
  9. Helping Families Initiative: Intervening with High-Risk Students through a Community, School and District Attorney Partnership, by Turner, Powell, Langhinrichsen-Rohling and Carson, Child Adolescent Social Work Journal (2009)
  10. Letter from David Calhoun, Attendance Officer, Shelby County Schools, May 9, 2016

Upcoming Events

4th Annual Child Advocacy Day
VOICES for Alabama’s Children
Montgomery, AL
March 16, 2017
“Helping Families Initiative”
Alabama District Attorneys Association
Fairhope, AL
April 6–9, 2017
“Next Generation of K-12 Indicator and response Systems to Increase Students’ Post-Secondary Readiness and Persistence”
A Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation supported initiative, sponsored by the Everyone Graduates Center at Johns Hopkins University
Baltimore, Maryland
May 1–3, 2017
“Getting Better at Getting Better”
Carnegie Foundation Summit on Improvement in Education
San Francisco, CA
March 26–30, 2017
“Breaking Down Barriers — Humanity Matters”
National Association of Social Workers — Alabama
Bryant Conference Center
Tuscaloosa, AL
April 24–25, 2017