More Information, Contact:
|August 19, 2008
Director of Communications
to School: Bristol County Probate & Family Court
Probation Department Will Offer Life Lessons This Fall
This fall, high school students
will learn a lesson in reality courtesy of the
Bristol County Probate & Family Court Probation
“Life 101: A Lesson in Reality” is
an hour and a half interactive presentation designed
by Bristol County Probate & Family Court
Probation Officer Edward Woods who wanted to
reach out to young people who are becoming parents
before they are old enough and who are dealing
with domestic violence issues such as restraining
orders. Woods collaborated with now retired Victor
Melendez, former Assistant Chief Probation Officer
at Suffolk Probate & Family Court, where
Woods began his career as a Probation Officer.
“As a Probate & Family
Court Probation Officer, I was becoming concerned
about the level of cases regarding children who
at the age of 15, 16, and 17 were having children.
They didn’t understand the complexity and
the expense associated with having children.
I wanted to reach out and address the needs of
what could be our next wave of litigants,” said
Woods. “I want to get to them when they
are freshman and sophomores. I want them to know
that the decisions they make now are decisions
that they are going to have to live with for
the rest of their lives.”
Woods added, “I want them
to know that we in the Probate & Family Court
Probation Department are here to serve you.”
“Life 101” will be
offered at New Bedford High School this fall
and then at Durfee High School in Fall River
next semester. Woods plans to offer the course
to the other cities in the Southcoast region.
He said he is also willing to bring the course
to any high school in the Commonwealth.
Students who attend Life 101 will
learn about the Probate & Family Court and
the resources offered through probation. Among
the topics emphasized in the session are paternity,
divorce, guardianship, custody, child support,
and restraining orders.
Also as part of the seminar, Woods
introduces “Financial Reality,” which
demonstrates to teens the amount of child support
a parent, earning minimum wage, must pay. For
example, a person who works 40 hours a week,
$9 an hour, would earn a gross income of $360.
Twenty-eight percent or $80 per week is what
this individual would pay for child support.
After taxes, the weekly pay is $220.
“This is the reality you
face if you have children,” Woods warns. “The
court is here to ensure that each and every child
is financially supported.”
Woods said the purpose of this
course is to educate young people about the Probate & Family
Court Probation Department.
“I want this to be informative
and educational. I want them to get the message
that we are here to help. If you need help, you
don’t have to be embarrassed,” Woods
said. “I want to get teens to think.”