FAYETTEVILLE, WV (WOAY) – The Fayette County Family Treatment Court opened today with a ceremony at Smokey’s On the Gorge Restaurant.
It is the ninth Family Treatment Court to open in West Virginia. The others are in McDowell, Nicholas, Boone, Calhoun/Roane, Logan, Ohio, Randolph and Wood Counties.
Family treatment courts are designed to return children to a safer home environment and achieve permanency faster and more effectively than traditional methods. They also serve individuals with substance use disorder who are also involved in child abuse and neglect cases.
“It’s basically a very structured, service-oriented approach to helping the parents and the children who are in these homes where substance abuse has caused abuse and neglect,” says Thomas Ewing, Fayette County Treatment Court Judge.
The Supreme Court provides oversight, technical assistance, and training. A State Family Treatment Court Advisory Committee and the Supreme Court Division of Probation Services set criteria for eligibility and participation.
“I think we have some folks from the Supreme Court who are supposed to speak, I think Judge Hutchinson is here specifically to speak from the Supreme Court, and it’s more or less an opportunity to provide information on what family treatment court is, how it got started, and discuss our program here in Fayette County,” Ewing says.
The West Virginia court system continues to add treatment courts throughout the state and to support and celebrate graduates who complete such specialty court programs.
“These family treatment courts are an alternative approach to the traditional abuse and neglect case in an effort to address the substance abuse problem more directly, address it head-on, and address it sooner, and also to hopefully be in a situation where we can reunify these children and parents,” he says.
The goal of treatment courts is to help participants overcome substance use disorder and mental illness, thus improving the quality of life for them and their families.