Immediate Aftercare Program for Survivors and Families of Homicide Victims: The Case of Cobb County Government
Date of Award
Master of Public Administration (MPA)
Cobb County, Georgia is a rapidly growing, upscale, suburban county in the metro-Atlanta region. However, the County lacks the ability to provide a comprehensive array of services to family members of homicide victims and other non-natural death cases. While various counseling and service programs exist in the area, there is no singular focus on the delivery of services to homicide survivors, families, and friends. Other than the general information provided to surviving family members by the Medical Examiner’s Office at the time of death, there is little to no emphasis currently placed on services to or the needs of those persons and families affected by non-natural deaths such as suicides or non-criminal related car crashes.
Cobb County implemented a specialized service delivery program in October of 2009 through the Victim Witness Assistance Unit of the District Attorney’s Office. The program established a case management system with services provided by a victim advocate staff in the Medical Examiner’s Office. The victim advocate implemented an intensive case management plan and provides direct services for all members of the deceased victim’s immediate family, other family members, or friends of the deceased victim requesting services. The program also developed and disseminated a comprehensive resource guide and obtained other tools to assist families in dealing with trauma, grief, and coping after the loss of a loved one.
The purpose of this study is to obtain information about current practices in the area of homicide survivor support, identify the conceptual framework guiding the interventions of homicide bereavement caregivers, and evaluate whether immediate aftercare to homicide survivors’ families greatly impact the healing process. Based on the data collected, the study also examined the effectiveness and efficiency of services coordinated through the program implementation. Although immediate aftercare positively affects the healing process, the Cobb County program is in the beginning phase and requires more data and research to determine its efficiency and effectiveness.