The goal of the Family Treatment Court is the preservation of families or reunification of children with parents who have been charged with neglect as a result of substance abuse. Other permanency plans may be facilitated for children when reunification with the parents is not possible.
The Family Treatment Court was first implemented in December of 1997 in Suffolk County as a result of the overwhelming numbers of parents who appear before the Court on Neglect petitions due to substance/ alcohol abuse. These parents are directed to attend a drug rehabilitation program by case managers (employed by the state) who monitor their progress in their treatment programs.
Child welfare and visitation issues are addressed by Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) employed by EAC. The CASA will make visits to the child’s residence to assess whether the child’s needs are being met by the current custodian. The CASA will gather information from the child’s parent(s), custodians and professionals involved in the child’s life, such as Child Protective Services caseworkers, teachers, doctors, the child’s attorney, therapists, daycare providers, public health nurses, etc.
Progress of parents and children is reported directly to the Court by the case manager and the CASA respectively. The CASA will assist the parent with filing petitions for increases in visitation when it is appropriate to do so. The CASA will also provide referrals for parenting programs, family therapy, housing, clothing and food pantries.
The Family Treatment Court employs a Department of Social Services liaison who facilitates communication between FTC and Child Protective Services. The liaison also assists parents with Medicaid and public assistance issues.
Download the FTC brochure: EAC Family Treatment Court Brochure