Clark County Court receives certification for Family Treatment Court

A specialized court docket in Clark County focusing on families has received initial certification from the Ohio Supreme Court.

The specialized docket, the Family Treatment Court, is part of the Clark County Domestic Relations Court-Juvenile Section. It is expected to receive full certification later this year, according to a news release from the county.

The Family Treatment Court aims to help parents whose children have been removed from their care by claims of abuse, neglect or dependency.

Having the specialized docket also allows the court to apply and receive supportive funds from state and federal grants.

“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,” Judge Katrine M. Lancaster of the Clark County Domestic Relations Court-Juvenile Section said.

The Family Treatment Court offers assistance designed to help help parents maintain sobriety and good mental health and build stronger relationships with their children, according to the release. A designated treatment team helps parents take responsibility for their actions or bad habits through developed programs, interventions and counseling.

The Juvenile Court has operated a similar program but has never been officially certified by the state Supreme Court, according to the release.

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According to the release, 136 specialized dockets provided services to over 7,000 adult offenders in Ohio in 2020. This was through the Ohio Mental Health and Addiction Services Specialized Dockets Subsidy Project.

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A parent must voluntarily enter the docket and have a substance use disorder and a mental health diagnosis that prevents them from reuniting with or parenting their children in order to participate.

The Family Treatment Court also has an advisory board with representatives from 17 areas of the community. Members from the judicial system, law enforcement, social services, mental health providers and addiction specialists are included on the board, the release said.

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

The Clark County Domestic Relations Court received the initial certification for the Family Treatment Court in April.

In addition to the family treatment specialized docket, the Clark County Juvenile Court submitted two other specialized dockets for a Youth Drug Court and Youth Behavioral Health Court, according to the release. The Youth Drug Court is expected to be certified later this year. No information was provided on when the Youth Behavioral Health Court would be certified.

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