Local leaders join U.S. Rep. Jimmy Panetta (middle) for a roundtable discussion to highlight recent federal support for Monterey County’s Family Justice Center initiative. (County of Monterey)

KING CITY — U.S. Rep. Jimmy Panetta hosted a roundtable with local leaders last Thursday to highlight recent federal support for Monterey County’s Family Justice Center initiative.

Family Justice Centers collocate legal and other support services in one location to ensure they are accessible for victims and families. 

Panetta secured $275,000 in federal support for staffing and infrastructure for the County’s first planned center in King City.

“As a former prosecutor, I take seriously the role of government at every level to support survivors of abuse and fight for the justice that they deserve,” Panetta said. “This federal investment in Monterey County’s Family Justice Center initiative will help continue our joint effort to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of local victim support services in our community. I’m proud that the federal government can play its part to help ensure that victims stay safe and secure and receive support from the multitude of county services at the Family Justice Center.”

U.S. Rep. Jimmy Panetta discusses federal support for the Monterey County Family Justice Center while sitting next to Monterey County District Attorney Jeannine Pacioni. (County of Monterey)

Joining Panetta for the July 6 roundtable discussion, which took place at the Monterey Public Library, were Monterey County District Attorney Jeannine Pacioni, Administrative Officer Sonia De La Rosa and Supervisor Chris Lopez, along with Pacific Grove Police Chief Cathy Madalone and Monterey Police Chief Dave Hober.

The leaders discussed the challenges facing survivors and families in receiving support services across Monterey County and how a centralized office in southern Monterey County could better serve their needs.

“The Family Justice Center is a collaborative approach and the resources that the federal government are providing to our office to this South County location will allow us to co-locate a number of different services,” Pacioni said. “This investment, this opportunity that we’re giving to folks in South County is great.”

The funding was part of the final FY23 appropriations government funding package, and will be used to improve facilities and hire additional personnel to serve the public in South Monterey County with a center in King City. Strategic planning is already underway.

“Our commitment is real and this facility is a key part of that,” said Lopez, who represents the region in County District 3. “So having this investment to bring not just one office, not just one place to check in, but to actually be able to bring all of these different services in a singular location for communities who lack the access is a game changer.”

Monterey County Supervisor Chris Lopez talks about the Family Justice Center as Administrative Officer Sonia De La Rosa looks on. (County of Monterey)
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