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Home Courts By County El Paso County Family Treatment Drug Court (FTDC)
Home Courts By County El Paso County Family Treatment Drug Court (FTDC)
Family Treatment Drug Court (FTDC)

History and Background

In July 2002, Colorado’s Fourth Judicial District joined an established Joint Services Management team to develop a Family Treatment Drug Court, utilizing a foster care placement prevention model. Key participants in this team include El Paso County Department of Human Services, AspenPointe (a single source Agency for mental health services) and Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF).  This multi-systems partnership was designed to simultaneously address child abuse and neglect concerns, parental substance abuse, and prevent placement in foster care of children ages birth to 12 years.   Placement prevention occurs as a result of high levels of collaboration between the parents, extended family and friends, the court system, Guardian Ad Litem, Respondent Parent Counsel, DHS caseworker, substance abuse treatment provider, and other involved parties.

Mission and End Goal of the Family Treatment Drug Court

FTDC strives to:

  • Divert children from foster care;
  • Strengthen the family unit with intensive in-home family-dictated services;
  • Reduce child abuse / neglect by teaching parenting skills and reducing risk factors;
  • Cease drug / alcohol abuse with assessment, treatment, and monitoring;
  • Establish permanency for children within mandated time frames (EPP/ASFA); and,
  • Dependency on public welfare and juvenile court systems by addressing self-sufficiency with TANF and other resources.
  • Reduce the number of children entering foster care;
  • Achieve permanency within mandated time frames;
  • Reduce abuse and neglect of children served (during service delivery and after);
  • Eliminate parental substance abuse;
  • Develop self-sufficient families; and,
  • Improve over all family functioning.

Program eligibility – qualifiers and disqualifiers

  • DHS is filing a new Dependency and Neglect petition, with parental Substance Abuse a primary concern
  • Parent(s) are at least 18 years of age
  • Child Safety concerns rise to the level of imminent removal from the home without intensive in-home services and safety planning
  • At least one child in the home is under the age of 13
  • Parent(s) voluntarily agree to participate in FTDC as opposed to a “traditional” D&N case
  • Families who are new to the system as well as those who have previously been involved can be included. Parents who have had previous drug exposed infants, or who have had parental rights terminated will not be excluded if they are otherwise eligible.

Program requirements

The program has four phases:

  • Orientation
  • Phase 1- focus on Achieving Sobriety, weekly court appearances
  • Phase 2- focus on Treatment, court appearances every two weeks
  • Phase 3-focus on After Care Planning, monthly court appearances

Parents are required to complete a court ordered treatment plan, which will address parenting skills, self-sufficiency, resolution of legal concerns, substance abuse, mental health, and/or domestic violence concerns and other components as indicated per each family’s unique needs

Referral Process – How participants get into the program

New Dependency and Neglect cases are screened by El Paso County Department of Human Services during the intake process and staffed with the DHS Supervisor over FTDC cases.    Acceptance of the case is determined based upon eligibility criteria and if there are openings available within the program, which is capped at 54 families.  Eligible families voluntarily choose if they wish to participate in Family Treatment Drug Court or follow a traditional D&N track.  Contact with families is made within 24 hours of the referral, which generally precedes the Preliminary Protective Proceedings (PPP).   All cases are accepted for FTDC prior to or at the PPP and assigned to dedicated, FTDC specific RPC, GAL and DHS caseworkers at that time.   Due to this, ongoing D&N cases are not eligible for entry into FTDC.

Contact(s) for questions and information

FTDC Coordinator, Julie Salas at 719-452-5498 or 

Division Q staff at 719-452-5401 or 719-452-5402

If you have concerns regarding the safety and/or wellbeing of a child, please contact the state reporting hotline at 1-844-CO-4-Kids.  Available 24 hours a day, every day.  Anyone witnessing a child in a life-threatening situation should call 911.


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