Family Dependency Treatment Court

The Family Dependency Treatment Court is a collaborative effort of the Fulton County Juvenile Court, Department of Family and Children Services, its legal counsel, the Fulton County Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities, the Parent Attorney, the Family Dependency Treatment Court Child Attorney and numerous treatment providers.

The Family Dependency Treatment Court is a voluntary program established by the Fulton County Juvenile Court as an alternative to the adversarial approach traditionally used in dependency cases.

This intervention model used by the Family Dependency Treatment Court consists of interrelated components that, when combined, have resulted in the preservation or reunification of families and enhanced permanency in the lives of children while effectively addressing the underlying disease of chemical dependency of the parents.

The participants are required to attend court often and are subject to intensive supervision with input from a multidisciplinary team of professionals led by the judge. The team works together to provide a highly structured and coordinated approach to treating the parent’s disease of substance abuse and addressing resulting parenting deficits, while simultaneously holding parents accountable for their choices and behavior.

The mission of the Family Dependency Treatment Court is to preserve the family through court intervention by fostering the reunification of families, to improve the quality of life by effectively connecting participants with resources to lead sober and clean lives, maintain healthy relationships and positive outcomes in the areas of education, job training and community connections.

For inquiries regarding Family Dependency Treatment Court, please contact:

Tracy Fields
Program Coordinator
p: 404.612.4517 | e: tracy.fields@fultoncountyga.gov

Eligibility

To be eligible for participation in Family Dependency Treatment Court, prospective clients must meet the following program and clinical criteria:

The parent must:

  • Reside in Fulton County, with an active case in Juvenile Court and be a legal parent, who is the primary caregiver of a child 12 years of age or younger
  • Have no prior substantiated reports of child physical or sexual abuse; and
  • Have dependency/CHINS allegations arising from substance abuse or dependence

The parent must have:

  • The ability to participate actively in the substance abuse treatment program as directed by the substance abuse treatment provider and the court
  • No significant mental health disorders that would impede the parent’s ability to participate actively in treatment
  • No chronic or terminal medical conditions requiring extensive medical treatment that would limit the parent’s ability to participate actively in treatment
  • No violent behavior that may put the parent or the Family Dependency Treatment Court participants at risk of injury because of the parent’s participation in the program

Program Structure

The Family Dependency Treatment Court program’s path to graduation and recovery is divided into four individualized phases with a progressive focus on treatment and rehabilitation.

  • Freshmen: this phase involves weekly court sessions, consistent treatment attendance, 8 to 12 weeks of negative drug screens and compliance with sanctions and recommendations from the treatment provider, DFCS and Family Dependency Treatment Court team
  • Sophomore: This phase involves court sessions every other week, consistent treatment attendance, 8 to 12 weeks of negative drug screens, compliance with sanctions and recommendations from treatment providers, DFCS and the Family Dependency Treatment Court team, and consultation with health care professionals regarding family planning issues
  • Junior: This phase involves court sessions every three weeks, consistent treatment attendance, 8 to 12 weeks of negative drug screens and compliance with sanctions and recommendations from treatment providers, DFCS and the Family Dependency Treatment Court team
  • Senior: This phase involves monthly court sessions, 8 to 12 weeks of negative drug screens, a relapse prevention plan and the completion of all graduation requirements, such as obtaining housing and employment

The goals and outcomes of Family Dependency Treatment Court are as follows: Clean and sober participants, reunification of parents with children, successful completion of substance abuse treatment and improved education and improve and healthy parent-child relationships.

Collaborative Partners

The Family Dependency Treatment Court is a collaborative effort between: Fulton County Juvenile Court, DFCS and its legal counsel, Fulton County Department of Behavioral Health and Disabilities, the Family Dependency Treatment Court Child Advocacy Attorney, the Family Dependency Treatment Court Parent Attorney, Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA), the Center for Health and Rehabilitation (CHR), youthSpark, St. Jude’s Recovery, the Mary Hall Freedom House, Odyssey and My Sister’s House / Atlanta Union Mission.