Judge Bradley receives Champion for Children Award

May 10, 2002

The Jackson County Children's Services Coalition has named Chancery Judge Jaye Bradley of Pascagoula as recipient of its Champion for Children Award.

Bradley was honored for her creation of the Focus on Children in Separation (FOCIS) program.

Bradley is a chancery judge for Jackson, George and Greene counties. She requires some divorcing parents and their minor children to attend four hours of counseling. Separate classes are conducted for parents and for children ages 6-12 and 13-17. The classes are intended to help parents understand how the divorce and their own behavior affect children.

FOCIS classes in Jackson County will begin May 16. Similar classes began in February in George County. Bradley refers Greene County residents to the George County program offered by the private, non-profit George County Families First.

Kathy Best, executive director of the Jackson County Children's Services Coalition, said the group periodically recognizes "somebody that goes above and beyond the call of duty, whether it's their job or they are just a volunteer." Best said Bradley "has definitely done that for us. She is a great advocate for children and the family in every arena."

The award was presented to Bradley April 18 during a training session for 11 people who will conduct the FOCIS classes in Jackson County.

Bradley said, "It was a great honor for me to receive this award from the Jackson County Children's Services Coalition. I certainly appreciate all of the work that agency has done in Jackson County to make this service a reality for the children and families of Jackson County."

Bradley also expressed appreciation for the work of George County Families First. FOCIS classes are provided free of charge to participants by George County Families First.

"I appreciate the Families First efforts to make it a reality in this judicial district," Bradley said.

In Jackson County, the cost to participants in FOCIS classes is $10 per adult.

Bradley said the FOCIS program makes services available to families that might not otherwise be able to afford them. "I think it's a good opportunity to help children and families of this judicial district," Bradley said.

The Jackson County Children's Service Coalition will administer the FOCIS program in Jackson County, said Best. The Jackson County Children's Service Coalition is a non-profit community organization made up of over 200 individuals and agencies.

"Often times during a divorce, the children are the people who get ignored," Best said.

Parents sometimes "are so focused on themselves during the divorce that they kind of lose sight of the impact on their children. That's the sole focus of the program. It talks about children and the effects."

Startup funding for the Jackson County FOCIS program came from two anonymous donors, Best said The coalition is seeking a grant to continue the program.

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