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By now most of us have heard about drug courts, but did you know about Family Treatment Dependency Courts (also called family drug courts)? These special venues seek to do what is in the best interest of the family by providing a safe and secure environment for the child while intensively intervening and treating the parent’s substance abuse and other co-morbidity issues.
This approach claims to facilitate better collaboration between agencies and better compliance with treatment and other family court orders necessary to improve child protection case outcomes. The first one was in Reno, NV back in 1995 and there are reportedly more than 300 around the country now.
According to a newsletter several years ago from the National Drug Court Institute, the Child Welfare League had calculated that parental substance abuse was a factor in 80 percent of child abuse and neglect cases. Repairing the family bond is important, and the idea is that children will be better off being reunited with parents after they have been rehabilitated than in permanent foster care in most cases.
A recent story out of Georgia talks about one of their family drug courts in Macon. Funded by a state grant, a judge in Georgia is using the circuit’s new Family Dependency Treatment Court to give parents a chance to recover from their addiction and have children return home. These venues typically last 18 months long and have rehabilitation components along with incentives for progress and sanctions for failures to comply.
These special courts are another form of intervention. Since addiction affects the entire family it is essential to address multiple areas of life and relationships, rather than focusing only on the individual’s substance abuse. However, there are effective intervention strategies available that can be used by families before the legal system has to be involved. Contact Family First Intervention to find out more if you have a loved one in need of help.