The Pickaway County Juvenile Court Family Treatment Court recently held its first graduation ceremony for four successful participants. The Family Treatment Court is a special docket approved by the Supreme Court of Ohio that allows judges to preside differently over cases involving parents with substance use disorder conditions. In these cases, parents and their children have been separated to allow the parents to focus on gaining sobriety while the children are maintained in safe protective environments.
During the course of the special court program, participants appear before the Family Treatment team, including the judge, on a weekly basis to review the progress or any setbacks of the participant. The Family Treatment team consists of Children Services caseworkers, the professional treatment counselors and peer mentors, along with representatives of the CASA program.
Rachelle Cooksey, the Family Treatment Court Coordinator, spoke about the much more intensive monitoring efforts of this program. “The tentative nine month program requires participant’s full commitment to sobriety. The three phases require different objectives in each and added responsibilities as one moves up. The Treatment Team looks to strengthen the parent-child relationship within the elements of health, home, purpose and community. Engaging in the process of personal growth can be uncomfortable at times but the four graduates are a testament that people do recover and families can be reunited.”
Natasha Rapp, Integrated Services Treatment Counselor, also added these observations from the counseling side. “It has been a wonderful experience watching these 4 accomplish their goals for sobriety and reunification. The work they put into their recovery has been extensive. These participants put in roughly 100 hours of group and individual counseling, meetings with case workers and peer supporters; they do random drug tests weekly, in addition to appearing in court. It is not an easy process for them and I cannot put into words how fulfilling it is to see these families healthy and whole.”
Pickaway County Children Services caseworkers, Dave Groff, Marina Herritt, and Amy Hoar, offered their thoughts about the program and participants from the Child Protection agency perspective. “Pickaway County Job and Family Services is proud of the accomplishments of the First Family Treatment Court Graduates. The hard work they put into the program, demonstrates the graduates commitment to their families and sobriety. We appreciate the support of our community partners in helping families reunify and lead drug free lives. “
At the Graduation Ceremony, a huge crowd of supporters, which included family members, Children Services staff, Integrated Services staff, CASA volunteers, State Rep. Gary Scherer, Pickaway County Common Pleas Judge P. Randall Knece, Circleville Municipal Judge Gary Dumm, Pickaway County Commissioners Brian Stewart and Harold Henson, Pickaway County Sheriff Robert Radcliff, Pickaway County Prosecutor Judy Wolford, Circleville Mayor Don McIlroy, and Pickaway County Magistrate Shelly Harsha, attended the ceremony as well.
Each participant was called up individually and recognized for their commitment and efforts toward recovery and their successful reunification with their children. Perhaps, one of the most rewarding moments of the evening was seeing the children with parents celebrating with pizza and cake. Families together enjoying each other once again.”