Nine local parents reunite with their children, graduate from DC Superior Courts’ Family Treatment Court Program
Last month, nine parents dedicated to their families participated in the commencement ceremony for DC Superior Courts’ Family Treatment Court Program (FTC), graduating to lives without drugs and with their children.
The program, created in 2003, is a court-supervised, voluntary and comprehensive substance abuse treatment program for caretakers – including mothers, fathers or custodial relatives -- whose children are the subject of a child neglect case. Caretakers in the 12 to 15-month program must acknowledge that substance abuse has prevented them from adequately parenting.
Program participants receive mental health support, transportation and housing assistance, among other services, and on average, parents enrolled in FTC are nearly three times more likely to reunite with their children within the first six months of removal, compared to non-enrolled parents.
So far, there have been more than a dozen graduation ceremonies held at the Moultrie Courthouse after parents have spent months sharing their challenges and triumphs on the journey to recovery.
All nine of the December graduates – from a single father who reunited with his young daughter, to a woman working to raise her granddaughter -- attended approximately 97 court hearings in their neglect cases and committed to frequent and random drug testing, resulting in approximately 480 negative drug tests. The graduates also attended hours of inpatient or outpatient substance abuse treatment, mental health care appointments, visitation, job interviews, housing searches and more.
“There are 15 children today who are now living with a parent or caregiver because of their success in FTC,” said Magistrate Judge, Family Treatment Court Presiding Judge Hon. Adrienne J. Noti, who heads the program in DC Superior Court.
“The youngest child is 15 months old – the oldest is 15 years old. Aren’t those numbers astounding?”
The Family Treatment Court was created as a result of a partnership between the Family Court, the DC Executive Office of the Mayor, the Office of the Attorney General and DC Child and Family Services Agency.
FTC is appreciative of the deep collaboration it has with its partners, stakeholders, and the treatment team. The team is comprised of Specialty Courts Program Manager Dr. Sariah Beatty, Specialty Courts Case Manager YuVette Russell, FTC Recovery Specialists Karen Rantion and Tierra Cooke, Supervisor of SUD Services Dorothy Walker, Manager CASA James Fleming, Assistant Attorney General Keely Magyar, as well as the Counsel for Child Abuse and Neglect and the Children’s Law Center.