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Family Friendly Courts

FACT SHEET

What is the Family Friendly Courts Program?
Chief Justice Mullarkey provided the leadership to establish the “Family Friendly Courts Act” in 2002. The Act, at C.R.S. 13-3-113, establishes children's centers in courthouses to help families involved with the court. The act also provides for the provision of information and resource referrals relating to certain types of services within the community, including services addressing at-risk youth, employment counseling, employment training and placement, health education and counseling, financial management, education, legal counseling and referral, mediation, domestic abuse and domestic violence, fatherhood programs, and substance abuse.

In 2005, the Act was amended to include the provision supervised parenting time and the transfer of the physical custody of a child from one parent to the other if funding is available. The primary goal of the Family Friendly program is to provide quality child care in or near courthouses to the children of individuals and families who attend court-related proceedings, but that such programs may also provide additional court-related family services at the facility and shall serve as a clearinghouse of information and resource referrals for program patrons concerning the wide variety of available services in the community, including services that provide help to at-risk youth, educational services, health services, mental health services, substance abuse services, legal services, and domestic abuse information.

What is Supervised Parenting Time and Visitation?
Supervised visitation and exchange programs offer a safe, neutral, and child-focused setting for parenting time between a child and his/her non-custodial parent and for safe exchange of children between parents. Supervised visitation services were initially designed to assist with permanency and reunification in child abuse and neglect proceedings. However, a similar need was identified by domestic relations courts for families dealing with child custody and parenting time issues. These new programs have emerged to deliver services in family court proceedings when there is a family history of substance abuse, domestic violence, mental illness, or child abuse.

How is the Program Administered?
A one-dollar surcharge is collected on some traffic offenses and infractions and is deposited in the family-friendly court program cash fund, which is administered by the state court administrator. The fund is authorized to accept on behalf of the state any grants, gifts, or donations from any private or public source for the purpose of this section. Grants are awarded to establish and maintain new family-friendly court programs in judicial districts throughout the state that do not have comparable existing programs, as well as to enhance existing family-friendly court programs. The judicial districts are responsible for applying annually for funding.

How do I get more information on Family Friendly?
Please contact Linda Reilly, Family Friendly Grant Administrator at linda.reilly@judicial.state.co.us .

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