Family Treatment Court receives state certification

The Family Treatment Court of the Logan County Court of Common Pleas, Family Court Division has earned final certification from the Ohio Supreme Court’s Commission on Specialized Dockets under Family Court Judge Natasha R. Kennedy.

In order to receive the certification, the local court had to submit an application, undergo a site visit, and provide specific program materials in response to certification standards that went into effect in January 2014.

Ohio Supreme Court Chief Justice Maureen O’Connor congratulated the Logan County Family Court and Judge Natasha R. Kennedy for receiving final certification.

“Specialized dockets divert offenders toward criminal justice initiatives that employ tools and tailored services to treat and rehabilitate the offender so they can become productive members of society,” said Ohio Supreme Court Chief Justice Maureen O’Connor. “Studies have shown this approach works by reducing recidivism while saving tax dollars.”

Specialized dockets are courts that are dedicated to specific types of offenses or offenders and use a combination of different techniques for holding offenders accountable while also addressing the underlying causes of their behavior. There are more than 210 specialized dockets in Ohio courts that deal with issues such as:

  • Drugs and Alcohol
  • Mental Health
  • Domestic Violence
  • Human Trafficking

The standards provide a minimum level of uniform practices for specialized dockets throughout Ohio and allow local courts to innovate and tailor to meet their community’s needs and resources.

The Logan County Family Court reunifies families one phase at a time. It is a specialized docket geared toward the family and helping families overcome drug addiction barriers to reunification. Judge Kennedy praises the program by stating, “We have had the privilege to help drug-addicted mothers give birth to drug-free babies. We have had the privilege to watch families work tirelessly to fight addiction in order to have their children returned to them from the foster care system. We have had the privilege to provide resources to drug-addicted families to help them get back on the right path. We are making a difference one family at a time. None of this would have been possible without the Family Treatment Court Coordinator Annette Deao who has worked tirelessly to ensure that we remain in compliance with the Ohio Supreme Court.”

The certification requirements include establishing eligibility requirements, evaluating the effectiveness of the specialized docket, and assembling a treatment team for implementing daily operations of the specialized docket. The team can include licensed treatment providers, law enforcement, court personnel, and is headed by the specialized docket judge.

The Commission on Specialized Dockets has 22 members who advise the Supreme Court and its staff regarding the promotion of statewide rules and uniform standards concerning specialized dockets in Ohio courts; the development and delivery of specialized docket services to Ohio courts; and the creation of training programs for judges and court personnel. The commission makes all decisions regarding final certification.