Family Treatment Court (FTC) is a specialty treatment court that helps families who have an active CINA (Child in need of Assistance) case in Juvenile Court, which may have resulted in their children being removed, or are at risk of being removed, from the home. This is an alternative approach for families with a substance use disorder. FTC supports the parents as they are in treatment and working with a variety of services to rebuild or maintain their relationship with their children. Family Treatment Court is a supportive group for parents with many services coming together to assist the parents and children.
The local FTC goes by STEPS, which means “Success Through Empowering Parent Sobriety.” There are five steps in the program which range from getting started and staying sober to being self-sufficient. Each step has a list of requirements parents must meet to move to the next step. Incentives are given to participates as they move through the process.
Families are encouraged to participate in activities outside of the courtroom. The team plans activities for families to do together. In the past, we have done group painting classes, yoga and stress management, food preparation for families to do together (families received a crock pot and cookbooks to help), and planting flowers.
These activities are not free and we are grateful for a grant from Boost4Families and Community Partnership for Protecting Children. Without their support, our extra activities would not happen. Donations also come from team members, their employers, and even the employers of participants in the program. Staff members continue to look for additional grants and funding to support these parents.
FTC is under new leadership. District Court Judge Hon. Michael Hooper serves as the judge for the court. He has been a defense attorney in juvenile court for parents, a prosecutor in juvenile court and now a judge. Judge Hooper shared, “An important aspect of family treatment court is the multiple disciplines involved that cooperate and collaborate with each other including attorneys, DHS, substance abuse counselors and others to provide a holistic approach to substance abuse issues that affect too many families in SW Iowa.”