Family Treatment and Early Childhood Court Programs

What is a Family Treatment Court?

Family Treatment Court is a therapeutic dependency court program for child welfare involved families that is modeled after drug and veterans' courts, where teams of specialists address underlying issues. Our tribal communities have developed a similar model, the Family Healing to Wellness Courts, based on a collaborative community model. These programs aid parents in regaining control of their lives and promote healthier families.

Judges, attorneys, child welfare, social service, tribal members, and treatment professionals collaborate to assess core problems. The Family Treatment Court provides:

  • Mental health assistance
  • Substance use disorder treatment
  • Access to job training and job search guidance
  • Housing assistance
  • Parental skills training
  • Oversight and accountability to ensure parents are taking the required steps.

Learn more and find the Family Treatment Court contact information.

What are Early Childhood Court Programs?

Early Childhood Court or Safe Baby Court is a collaborative approach for families with open child welfare cases and children aged 0-3. Five counties in Washington are currently operating with safe baby courts. These courts conduct typical child welfare dependency proceedings frequently and with a collaborative community-team approach.

Families with young children are supported through community-based resources, the Department of Children, Youth & Families (DCYF) contracted evidence-based programs, and relationship-based mental health services.

Child welfare-involved families with children aged 0-3 are eligible for referral for the safe baby court program if they agree with more frequent court hearings and a collaborative team approach to their case and live in one of the five counties that offer this program. The counties where safe baby courts are stood up are:

  • Pierce
  • Spokane
  • Clark
  • Kitsap
  • Thurston

Clallam county is in the planning stages to stand up a safe baby court in 2023.

The goals of safe baby courts are keeping children and their families together, timely reunification, and safe babies and toddlers. Zero to Three approach offers more information about the safe baby court team approach.

Family Treatment Court contact information