Maine Family Treatment Drug Court
Focusing on the safety and welfare of children while expanding services to families with substance abuse.
The Family Treatment Drug Court (FTDC) is a special court docket located in the Maine District Courts that focuses on families battling substance abuse. The court serves those families whose children are at risk of abuse or neglect due to parental abuse of drugs or alcohol.
Through judicial accountability and enhanced access to comprehensive treatment services, the Family Treatment Drug Court improves the safety and welfare of children and supports the recovery of their parents from alcohol and drug abuse.
- To establish permanency for the child in a timely fashion while providing comprehensive and intensive substance abuse treatment and wraparound services
- To help substance-abusing parents to become abstinent, receive appropriate treatment, and consequently make positive changes in their lives and the lives of their child.
- To enable parents to function better in their families and communities, thereby being less likely to have future involvement with the courts and the child welfare system.
Important Points to Consider
- The program is voluntary. A parent cannot be forced to participate.
- Positive involvement in the program significantly increases the chance of reunification, and reflects well upon the protective custody case. However, successful completion of the program does not guarantee reunification.
- The best interest of the child is the most important concern of the court, although the drug court program works primarily with the parents.
How do Family Treatment Drug Courts work?
- The FTDC combines accountability with improved access to treatment services. The judge meets frequently with parents in the Drug Court program to discuss progress and make improvements to their services plan.
- Depending on how rapidly a parent progresses, she or he may be in the program for 11 to 20 months before they graduate.
- Parents who participate have increased expectations, including meeting with the FTDC case manager as well as random drug testing.
- Community Engagement – FTDC works with local resources and the community at large to address substance abuse problems.
- The program works with parents to achieve:
- Increased visitations with their children
- Maintained abstinence from substance abuse
- Improved physical and mental health
- Improved housing and employment status
- Reunification with children
How are Families Referred to Drug Court?
FTDC serves families with open child protective cases. Referral begins when a petition is filed by Department of Health and Human Services. Once a is referred to the program, they are assessed by a substance abuse clinician to determine if they are eligible for the program.
The judge is able to order a parent to attend an information session with the Case Manager. Their attorney, GAL, AAG or caseworker through DHHS can also refer parents. Referrals can be directed towards either the FTDC Coordinator or one of the respective FTDC case managers.
Clients may be ineligible due to legal or clinical exclusions.
Benefits to Families and the Community
- Quicker permanency planning for the child involved
- Decreased crime and recidivism in the child welfare system
- Productive citizens
- Breaking the generational cycle of addiction
- Decreased number of babies born addicted or with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome
- Improved parenting
- Reduced cost to the community
- Reduced substance abuse
The Family Drug Court Team
- Drug Court Case Manager
- Project Coordinator
- Department of Health and Human Services Case Worker & Case Supervisor
- Local Treatment Providers
- Program Evaluator
For more information please contact:
Hartwell Dowling, Specialty Court & Grant Coordinator
- Evaluation of the Lewiston Family Treatment Drug Court A Process and Intermediate Outcome Evaluation (PDF)
- Evaluation of Maine's Family Treatment Drug Courts (PDF)
- ADULT DRUG TREATMENT COURT - Report To The Joint Standing Committee On The Judiciary 125th Legislature January 15, 2011 (PDF 9 pages)
- The files above is in PDF format and requires Adobe Acrobat Reader to view or print.