Hall County Courthouse - 3rd Floor
The Hall County Family Treatment Court provides timely comprehensive services to substance abusing parents who are facing the loss of their children to foster care. Parents participate in intensive long term treatment coupled with accountability including frequent court appearances. The program is designed to break the cycle of addiction, keep children in the home, reduce recidivism, and build a foundation for sober care-giving within a unified, healthy family environment.
Promote the health, safety and welfare of children in the dependency system by actively intervening to address the drug, alcohol and other service needs of families through integrated, culturally competent and judicially managed collaboration that facilitates timely reunification or an alternative permanency plan.
- To ensure that children have safe and permanent homes within permanency planning guidelines or sooner.
- To ensure that parents are better able to care for themselves and their children and seek resources to do so.
- To return productive, drug and alcohol free citizens to Hall County.
- To reduce the cost to society of dependency cases involving substances.
Family Treatment Court (FTC) became operational October 18, 2006 with Judge Cliff Jolliff presiding. Family Treatment Court is an alternative to regular dependency court and is designed to improve the safety and well being of children in the dependency system by providing parents access to drug and alcohol treatment, judicial monitoring of their sobriety and individualized services to support the entire family.
Parents voluntarily enter the program and agree to increased court participation, chemical dependency treatment and intense case management in order to reunite with their children or, in some cases, to prevent unnecessary removals. Case review hearings initially occur twice monthly and then become less frequent as parents progress through the program. Incentives are awarded to recognize parents' achievements and graduated sanctions are used when parents violate program rules. The program is a minimum of 18 months. If a parent is unable to engage in services or maintain sobriety, the process has prepared the court for quickly finding the best solution for the children.
Through a collaborative, non-adversarial approach, the Family Treatment Court integrates substance abuse treatment and increased accountability into the process. The FTC team reviews parents' participation and recommends services and steps towards reunification. The team includes: The FTC Judge; FTC Program Coordinator; Parents' Attorney; Special Assistant Attorney General; DFCS Case Manager; Substance Abuse Treatment Provider; and Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA). This interdisciplinary team is cross-trained and works collaboratively to resolve issues.
- New and existing DFCS court cases and ongoing CPS cases with reported parental substance use/abuse issues.
- Biological care giving parents age 18 years or over with children at home or in foster care.
- Adult caregivers also living in the home.
- Hall County residents.
- Participants must have the ability both mentally and physically to fully participate in the program.
- Not have any past felony grade conviction of physical or sexual violence towards a minor.
Upon referral from the Department of Family and Children Services (DFCS), parents first meet with the FTC coordinator to verify eligibility. If they are found eligible, they are referred immediately for a drug and alcohol evaluation.
Next the FTC candidate completes the drug and alcohol evaluation and the clinical assessment of eligibility. The evaluator submits written verification that the parent or parents are substance abusers or dependent and suitable for participation.
In the final step, the team meets to discuss overall eligibility and takes into consideration the dependency petition, chemical dependency assessment and all other available information. Based on the available information and from the team's input, the Family Treatment Court Judge makes the final decision about whether or not the parent or parents are eligible for the program. The candidate is then informed of the teamís decision by the FTC Coordinator and, if offered entry, they meet with the Parent Attorney to complete the required entry paperwork including the Family Treatment Court contract. The parent(s) will attend FTC the same day and begin treatment the following evening. The parent's DFCS case plan will be modified to "comply with all components of Family Treatment Court".
- Participation in Family Treatment Court (FTC) is completely voluntary.
- FTC is an intensive program and requires great commitment. Parents will be required to go to treatment, attend court regularly, attend a minimum of two 12 Step Meetings weekly, and report for frequent random, observed drug screens.
- Parents will receive random home visits by contracted Community Police officers to verify the home is alcohol and drug free and that no one in the home is under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
- Many services are available and include substance abuse treatment, counseling (anger management, domestic violence, etc
), assistance with parenting, childcare issues, transportation issues, employment assistance, medical and dental issues, housing issues.
If you know a parent who is involved in the Child Dependency System and whose drug or alcohol problem is the primary factor affecting their ability to protect the health, safety and welfare of their children, Family Treatment Court may be an option.
Family Treatment Coordinator
Hall County Courthouse
225 Green St., S.E.
Gainesville, GA 30501