FROM THE BEGINNING...
The reason this agency began was due to the unfortunate drug-related murder of a Dothan, AL youth in 1970. Law enforcement officers and private citizens joined together to form a program manned by volunteers which educated youth about the dangers of drugs. The program started in 1971 and was called: Code Two. As the program grew, the Board of Directors realized that the agency needed an administrator. At the beginning of the year 1973, Gerald Love accepted the job.
After a successful evaluation by Alabama Law Enforcement Planning Agency, Mr. Love and the Board of Directors saw the need to hire more counselors and expand coverage to Barbour, Coffee, Covington, Dale, Geneva, Henry, Houston, and Pike counties. (Crenshaw and Bullock have since been added) The expanding program continued to be a growing success and after reviewing statistics, the Board of Directors decided to put priority on the creation of a Group Attention Home that provided a homelike environment to children in need of supervision.
The Girls' Group Attention Home in Dothan opened in January of 1976. The immediate success of the Girls' Group Attention Home led to discussions and research in 1977 on the need for a Boys' Group Attention Home. Dale County expressed concern about involvement with juveniles at this time. Combined efforts resulted in the purchase and renovation of property on East Andrews Avenue in Ozark by the City of Ozark, and by February of 1978, the Boys' Group Attention Home was open. In 2000, Dr. and Mrs. Dudley Terrell donated their spacious country home to Southeast Alabama Youth Services to be used as the new Boys' Group Attention Home. These two homes (which can house ten children each) have provided safe housing, educational access, and counseling to thousands of girls and boys throughout the years.
By 1978, research began on a Diversion Facility which would provide psychological, educational, vocational, and physical evaluations for the courts. It provided a residential setting that totally removed the need for juveniles to be placed in a county jail. With the help of the City of Dothan and the Houston County Commission, the Diversion Center opened in January of 1981. Initially the facility could house sixteen, but that number has increased to forty-nine.