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Podcast: "Technology and Advocacy," featuring Sharon Nelson, CASA volunteer and 2013 president of the Virginia State Bar.

Blog: "The Baby Veronica Case: A Judge's Perspective," featuring Judge Dean Lewis, editor of The Judges' Page.

Video: ReMoved,a 13-minute exploration of the complex emotions experienced by a child in foster care.

Find additional publications and websites in the "Advocacy Resources" section of this website.

The Judges' Page newsletter is published by the National CASA Association and the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges.

Family Drug Treatment Courts

judge j. dean lewisSummer 2014

J. Dean Lewis, Judge (retired)
Former Member, National CASA Association Board of Trustees
Past President, National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges

What is a family drug treatment court (FDTC) and how is it different from the traditional dependency court process? Is FDTC an effective use of the limited resources available to courts, attorneys, CASA programs and public and private agencies charged with the responsibility of ensuring reasonable efforts, child safety, permanency and well-being in abuse and neglect cases? The answers to these questions and more will be answered in this issue of The Judges' Page.

We dedicate this issue to Carmela Welte, who recently retired from the National CASA Association after 24 years of service.

In 2003, Carmela Welte headed the National CASA team that partnered with the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges to create and launch The Judges' Page. Carmela was dedicated to making the publication a success. She served on the editorial board and guided each issue. Her input and vision were invaluable. Those of us at The Judges' Page thank Carmela and wish her well in her retirement.

Read the full editor's message.

Subscribe to The Judges' Page.


Articles in This Issue

The Association Between Substance Abuse and Child Welfare and Research-Based Interventions
Mark Stanford, PhD, Director, Addiction Medicine and Therapy Services, Stanford University School of Medicine

Summary: The author describes why collaborative approaches such as family drug treatment courts outperform traditional child welfare and dependency court systems in terms of child protection, parental rehabilitation and reunification.

Addressing the Needs of Families Affected by Substance Abuse in the Child Welfare System
Phil Breitenbucher, MSW, Program Director, Center for Children and Family Futures

Summary: The author reviews the performance of family drug courts from a national perspective and shares FDTC Guidelines, a resource that focuses on implementing evidence-based or evidence-informed practices in FDTC.

The Bureau of Justice Assistance Drug Court Technical Assistance Project at American University: An Important Resource for Family Drug Treatment Courts
Caroline Cooper, Director, Bureau of Justice Assistance Drug Court Technical Assistance Project

Summary: The author and her staff share resources available to FDTC through this federal program at American University.

Zero to Three Family Drug Treatment Court and Other Musings for a Better Court Response to Infants and Toddlers
Judge Douglas F. Johnson, Separate Juvenile Court of Douglas County, NE

Summary: The author describes why he is committed to sustaining and expanding a family drug treatment court focusing on permanency for infants and toddlers while addressing parental recovery.

Family Drug Court Improves Outcomes and Saves Public Money
L. Michael Clark, Superior Court Judge, Santa Clara County, CA

Summary: The following report by Judge Michael Clark was made to the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors both to give them an idea of how important the family wellness court was in the community and to ask for continued support for the wellness court from the board.

The Creation of a Family Mental Health Court
Deborah Schumacher, Judge, Second Judicial District Family Court and Reno Mentor Model Court Lead Judge

Summary: The author describes the creation of a family drug court 20 years ago under the Model Court Project of NCJFCJ and gives insight into the needs of parents with dual diagnosis.

Dependency Drug Court Demonstrates Success with Evidence-Based Holistic Interventions
Jeri Beth Cohen, Judge, Miami-Dade County Dependency Drug Court, FL

Summary: The author shares a program unique to Miami, the Engaging Moms casework model, which has increased the likelihood of positive child welfare outcomes when compared to standard drug court case management.

Strategies for Successful Rural Drug Courts
Judge William Davis, Superior Court of Siskiyou County, CA

Summary: The author shares his experiences and challenges operating a FDTC serving a rural population with limited resources.

Focusing on Infants and Toddlers in Family Drug Treatment Court
Erica Yew, Judge, Santa Clara Superior Court, CA

Summary: The author describes how their dependency drug treatment court leveraged partnerships and resources to obtain positive results for children and families in Santa Clara.

Preserving Families
Stephen S. Siegel, Judge, Superior Court, County of Santa Cruz, CA

Summary: The author shares the court's development over time and a program called "Leaps & Bounds" which offers parents and children an opportunity to engage in activities to strengthen relationships.

The Role of Lawyers in Family Drug Treatment Courts
Eva J. Klain, Director, Child & Adolescent Health, ABA Center on Children and the Law

Summary: The author relates how the center helps attorneys for agencies, children and parents to improve outcomes for the parties through their role as legal advocates in FDTC.

Innovative Peer Mentoring Program Supports Success for Parents in Recovery
AnnaLisa Chung, Executive Director, Dependency Advocacy Center, San Jose, CA

Summary: The author shares a lesson learned during the early days of the Santa Clara County Dependency Drug Treatment Court—peer mentoring works. A Mother Mentor program evolved into the Mentor Parent Program which is administered by the Dependency Advocacy Center and has proven to play an important role in parental advocacy and outcomes

Drug Courts Emphasize Problem-Solving Approach in Serving Families
Hilary Kushins, Drug Court and Training Programs Manager, Dependency Advocacy Center in San Jose

Summary: The author shares how she balances her ethical obligation to the client while pursuing a role of creativity, collaboration and teamwork within the FDTC framework.

Drug Courts Offer Attorneys a New Way to Advocate for Clients
Jeanine McKelvey, Attorney, Legal Advocates for Children and Youth, A Program of the Law Foundation of Silicon Valley, CA

Summary: The author shares how she has been required to develop skills different than those taught in law school in her work representing children in dependency cases.

Ethical Issues in the Family Drug Treatment Court
Judge Leonard Edwards (ret.), Superior Court Judge, Santa Clara County, CA

Summary: The author advises that ethical problems can arise based upon the role of the judge and the unique nature of the hearings.

Sanctions in Family Drug Treatment Courts
Judge Leonard Edwards (ret.), Superior Court Judge, Santa Clara County, CA

Summary: The author addresses sanctions that are appropriate and inappropriate in family drug treatment courts.

Family Treatment Court: The Judge as a Therapeutic Intervention
Gail A. Barber, Director, Iowa Children’s Justice, State Court Administration, Judicial Branch of Iowa

Summary: The author shares how six family treatment courts were established in Iowa under a federal grant and how an independent evaluation determined that children spent less time in out-of-home care, parents were more successful in substance abuse treatment, and over 4 million dollars in foster care costs and the cost of services was saved.

Marcie's Story

Summary: A participant in a Mentoring Parent Program describes her journey from suffering from abuse and addiction to becoming a role model and support to others in recovery.

Family Drug Treatment Courts: A Social Worker’s Perspective
Michele Dove, MSW, Santa Clara County Dependency Wellness Court, CA

Summary: The author explains that the families involved in dependency court have complex and compound issues and that the court provides a team of service providers and resources to meet those needs. She describes the role for service providers as labor intensive but with a payoff of success for the participants.

Addressing the Nexus of Intimate Partner Violence and Substance Abuse in Dependency Drug Treatment Courts
Nancy Marshall, MS, Marriage Family Therapist and Executive Director, Domestic Violence Intervention Collaborative 

Summary: The relationship between intimate partner violence (IPV) and substance abuse is reciprocal, and the presence of either or both are associated with an elevated risk for continuing child abuse and neglect. Incorporating domestic violence services in dependency drug treatment courts can enhance victim safety and support perpetrator accountability while supporting recovery. 

2014 National CASA Judge of the Year: Hon. Cindy Lederman

Summary: Miami-Dade County Judge Cindy Lederman was honored with a National CASA Award of Excellence at the National CASA Annual Conference in June. 


National CASA Association Reprint Policy

If an article published in The Judges' Page is reproduced, credit shall be given to the author(s) of the article, the National CASA Association and the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges


The US Department of Justice has supported CASA advocacy since 1985 through its Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention.
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