Community Summit Builds on Strengths


Fairfax County Department of Family Services
12011 Government Center Parkway, Suite 500
Fairfax, VA 22035-1102

November 14, 2007

Community Summit Builds on Strengths of African American Families in Fairfax County

A community summit – Building on the Strengths of African American Families – takes place this Saturday, November 17, in the Fairfax County Government Center.

The public is invited to attend this free event, which explores some of the challenges faced by African American children and families locally and nationwide. The community summit is intended to forge a partnership among various groups –– to make a positive difference in the lives of local African American children.

The event is organized by a unique community collaborative effort including representatives from the faith communities, businesses, fraternal organizations, nonprofit organizations, schools, local government, and interested local residents. Known as “Together We’re the Answer,” the group is seeking ways to reduce and prevent the disproportionate participation of African American children in the county’s foster care and juvenile justice systems and to improve school readiness and performance.

African Americans are eight percent of Fairfax County’s population, yet 41 percent of the children in the county’s foster care program and 30 percent of the youth admitted to juvenile detention in the county are African American. Four percent of the county’s African American youth drop out of school compared to 2.7 percent of the county’s overall school-age population.

The over-representation of African Americans in the child welfare and juvenile justice systems is a national trend, not unique to Fairfax County. But “Together We’re the Answer” contends that Fairfax County has the resources and community leadership to do something about it. Forty-eight percent of the county’s African American households own their own homes; 38 percent of African American men and 37 percent of African American women in the county hold college degrees; more African American-owned businesses (3,336 firms) are located in Fairfax County than in any other locality in Virginia, with sales and receipts of $628 million; and Fairfax County has vibrant and influential African American faith communities.

Speakers at the November 17 summit include Verdia Haywood, Deputy County Executive, Fairfax County; Deitra Crawley Bryant, Esq., UNITECH and Chairperson of the Board of the African American Family and Child Center, Inc.; Gerald Connolly, Chair, Fairfax County Board of Supervisors; Catherine Hudgins, Fairfax County Supervisor, Hunter Mill District; Robert B. Hill, Ph.D., Senior Researcher, Westat Research Corporation; Lavern Chatman, Executive Director, Northern Virginia Urban League; and the Rev. Darrell White, Pastor, Bethlehem Baptist Church. In addition, a panel of young people will share their experiences in the foster care and juvenile justice systems, and a panel of local service providers and volunteers will describe some of the ways they are making a difference in these young lives.

All participants are invited to join in a working lunch to develop action plans. Costs for the day’s event, including lunch, are covered by the event sponsors: the Northern Virginia Urban League, the Northern Virginia Community Foundation, the Freddie Mac Foundation, Cox Communications, Inc., the Frito Lay company, and the African American Family and Child Center, Inc.

What:

Community Summit - Building on the Strengths of African American

When:

Saturday, November 17
Registration and continental breakfast at 8:15 a.m.
Program from 9 a.m. - 2 p.m.

Where:

Fairfax County Government Center
12000 Government Center Parkway, Fairfax, VA 22035

There is no charge to attend, but participants are asked to register in advance. Transportation assistance and supervised activities for children ages 5 and older can be provided to those who pre-register.



Fairfax County is committed to nondiscrimination on the basis of disability
in all county programs, services and activities.
Reasonable accommodations will be provided upon request.



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Fairfax County Department of Family Services
[ 12011 Government Center Parkway, Fairfax, VA 22035 ]
[ 703-324-7500 ]

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