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Posted on: June 14, 2021

Family Treatment Court specialized docket earns initial certification from the Ohio Supreme Court

Clark County Juvenile Court

SPRINGFIELD, OH (JUNE 14, 2021) ─ The Clark County Domestic Relations Court-Juvenile Section’s Family Treatment Court became the first specialized docket in Clark County to receive initial certification from the Ohio Supreme Court earlier this year.

The court received initial certification in April and expects to receive its full certification after meeting with the Ohio Supreme Court later this year. Specialized dockets target a population of people who have entered the court system within a specific demographic.

The Family Treatment Court is designed to assist parents whose children have been removed from their care with allegations of abuse, neglect or dependency. The Juvenile Section has operated a similar program for several years; however, the docket was never formally certified by the Ohio Supreme Court. 

In order to participate in the Family Treatment Court, a parent must voluntarily enter the docket and have a substance use disorder, as well as some mental health diagnosis that are barriers to reunification or parenting time with their children if those issues are not addressed.

“One of the greatest benefits of this docket is we have an opportunity through this intensive program to not only preserve a family, but promote a healthier community.   It is an investment in our human capital,” says Judge Katrine M. Lancaster of the Clark County Domestic Relations Court-Juvenile Section.

The goal of Family Treatment Court is to aid parents in maintaining sobriety and good mental health in order to reunify and strengthen their relationships with their children. The Family Treatment Court has a designated Treatment Team with regular court reviews that assists participants in taking responsibility for their drug and alcohol use with effective programs, evidence-based interventions, treatments and counseling in an integrated, accountability-based and community-supported programming.

“Family and Children Services looks forward to continuing our partnership with the court and provide long-term solutions and supports to keep families together and healthy,” said Clark County Department of Job and Family Services Director Virginia Martycz. 

The creation of the specialized docket allows the court to apply for money available for supportive services through state and federal grants. In 2020, 136 specialized dockets provided services to more than 7,000 adult offenders in Ohio through the Ohio Mental Health and Addiction Services Specialized Dockets Subsidy Project.

The Family Treatment Court also has an advisory board that includes representatives from 17 different segments of the community, including the judicial system, law enforcement, social services, mental health providers and addiction specialists.

The Juvenile Court submitted two other specialized dockets – a youth drug court and a youth behavioral health court. After discussion with the Ohio Supreme Court, modifications were made to design a youth treatment court with those two possible tracks. The Juvenile Court expects the youth treatment court to be certified later this year.

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Media contact: Michael Cooper, Public Information Officer, 937-521-2031

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