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Community service stays in the valley

Posted: April 13, 2011 1:55 a.m.
Updated: April 13, 2011 1:55 a.m.
 

A Santa Clarita-based nonprofit group is now handling community-service programs ordered at Newhall Superior Court, officials said Tuesday.

The move to have HandsOn Santa Clarita administer the court-referral community-service program is expected to be a boon to local service groups, increasing community service performed locally.

Before HandsOn Santa Clarita assumed control in April, Volunteer Center of Los Angeles oversaw community service mandated at Newhall Superior, said Lupe Franco-Butler, HandsOn Santa Clarita’s executive director.

Many Santa Clarita-based nonprofit groups that could benefit from a pipeline of volunteers were passed up, said Susana Coronel, a community-services supervisor for the city.

“Without local oversight, a lot of community service was being done outside of the valley,” Coronel said. “If you commit the offense (in Santa Clarita), you should do the community service.”

Formed in 1997, HandsOn Santa Clarita acts as conduit between the court and local community-service groups. Volunteers referred by the court to HandsOn Santa Clarita are required to complete a set number of community-service hours to avoid heavy fines or jail time.

HandsOn Santa Clarita also provides oversight for the referral program by making sure volunteer hours are being completed on time without any issues, Coronel said.

It took more than a year for HandsOn Santa Clarita to assume control of the court referral program.

Presiding Judge Grace Freixes, officials representing the city and local nonprofits first proposed the idea in 2009.

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