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What is a Family Treatment Court?

House Bill 3057 in 2019, codified as §62-15B-1(d)(4), permitted the Supreme Court of Appeals of West Virginia to create and implement a Family Treatment Court pilot program in at least four counties to serve individuals with substance use disorders who are also involved in a child abuse and neglect case. The Supreme Court provides oversight, technical assistance, and training. The Court established a State Family Treatment Court Advisory Committee, as called for in the law, and local family treatment court advisory committees in the counties where there are Family Treatment Courts. Each local advisory committee sets criteria for the eligibility and participation of adults who have a substance use disorder and have been adjudicated to be abusive or neglectful parents and who have been granted a post-adjudicatory improvement period. Family Treatment Courts are designed to return children to a safer home environment and achieve permanency faster and more effectively than traditional methods.

The West Virginia Family Treatment Courts (FTC) are a cooperative effort of the Circuit Court, Child Protective Services and substance abuse treatment providers, as well as anyone involved in the welfare of children in the foster care system. The goals are to assist parents with accessing substance abuse treatment in a more timely manner, returning children home and reunifying them at a potentially faster rate than traditional abuse and neglect court proceedings, and ensure fewer children experience subsequent maltreatment and return back to foster care.