Family Treatment Court helping King County families  

King County is protecting the health, safety and welfare of children in the dependency system and helping parents reunite with their children through its Family Treatment Court.

The Family Treatment Court Program, started in August 2004, is an alternative option to dependency court for parents. Parents voluntarily enter the program and agree to increased court participation, chemical dependency treatment and intense case management in order to reunite with their children.

“Family treatment court is not designed to be an adversarial type of program. It’s not designed to be litigious; it’s not based on culpability. It’s a strength based, trauma-informed community support and positive intense program,” Superior Court Judge Elizabeth Berns said in a recent video about the program.

While participation in the program is voluntary, certain requirements must be met. Parents are required to go to treatment, including detoxification and counseling, attend court regularly, and urinalysis testing is required. Participants also work with a team to develop a plan to support their progress and their family, work on their parenting skills and abilities, and ensure a safe and nurturing environment for their children.

“Having all those people at your table if you’re a parent, having all that support from all those different perspectives addressing all the needs of that family; it’s really profound,” Judge Berns said.

The program offers community support, promotes the court’s goal of keeping families whole, and provide a stable, functioning home. Watch this video to learn more or visit Family Treatment Court Program.