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Family Drug Treatment Court

What is the Family Drug Treatment Court?

The Family Drug Treatment Court (FDTC) has been established as a three year pilot program in the Children's Court of Victoria.  The aim of the FDTC is to:

  • help parents stop using drugs/alcohol; and
  • promote family reunification.

The FDTC is chaired by a Children's Court magistrate and is supported by a multi-disciplinary team.  The team comprises drug and alcohol clinicians and a dedicated social worker.

The FDTC works with agencies providing services for parents in the program.  They include:

  • residential treatment;
  • drug and alcohol counselling;
  • mental health counselling;
  • parenting programs; and
  • housing programs.

Professionals also work with children to help them with the journey to family reunification.

The catchment area for the FDTC is currently limited to those cases coming from the Northern Region office of the Department of Health & Human Services.

Am I eligible to participate?

To be eligible for the FDTC you must:

  • have at least one child aged 0-3 years currently in out-of-home care;
  • live in the catchment area of the Northern Region office of the Department of Health & Human Services;
  • are seeking to have your children returned to your care;
  • are committed to ceasing your drug use and creating a safer, more stable family environment;
  • are willing and able to participate fully in the program (i.e. you do not have any significant physical or mental health issues that may make it difficult for you to participate); and
  • consent to participate fully in the program for 12 months.

How does the Family Drug Treatment Court work?

Instead of going through the normal court process, partents assessed as suitable for the Family Drug Treatment Court will enter a 12 month program.

While on the program you will be required to:

  • attend court regularly;
  • participate in drug testing up to three times per week;
  • attend your treatment appointments which may include residential rehabilitation programs; and
  • work toward achieving the goals of your Family Recovery Plan.

What happens at the end of the program?

If you have met all the goals set out in your Family Recovery Plan the FDTC magistrate may make an order that your children be returned to your care on an ongoing and full-time basis.

If you have not been able to achieve all of the goals on the Family Recovery Plan but have made significant progress, the magistrate may make an order to extend the treatment program for a short time to allow you to achieve your goals.

If you have not been able to achieve your goals, your case may return to the normal Children's Court process.

Will I get support once I have finished the program?

Support is available to families who have been through the program.  The level of support provided will be determined on a case by case basis.

How do I get on the program?

If you would like to be assessed for the program you should speak to your legal representative or your Child Protection practitioner.  They will tell the magistrate at your next court hearing.  If the magistrate agrees that this would be a suitable course for you, you will be given an assessment date and time to meet your Clinical Case Manager.

More information?

For more information on the Family Drug Treatment Court you can phone the Senior Clinician via the Broadmeadows Children's Court registry on (03) 9221 8100.