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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, Savio (an intensive in-home family preservation program), 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, Savio Intensive In-home Worker, substance abuse treatment provider, and other involved parties.

Overview of current presiding Judge

Magistrate Jami Vigil

Magistrate Vigil is the presiding judicial officer in the Fourth Judicial District’s Family Treatment Drug Court program.  Magistrate Vigil also handles a full juvenile docket including Dependency and Neglect, Adoption, Paternity, and Child Support cases.  Magistrate Vigil has served El Paso County as a judicial officer since January 2011 and is extremely active on several Best Practices Court Committees.

Magistrate Vigil devoted her professional career to public service.  Prior to her service on the bench, Magistrate Vigil worked as a Colorado State Public Defender, a Guardian Ad Litem in Dependency & Neglect, Delinquency, Truancy, Paternity, and Probate cases, Respondent Parent Counsel, Alternate Defense Counsel as well as immigration detention/deportation defense counsel.  Magistrate Vigil provided legal services to Colorado’s immigrant communities for over ten years.  She is particularly proud of her years as the Program Director for the Rural Immigrant Outreach Project, serving the State’s large Spanish speaking immigrant community in immigration matters and “know-your-rights” presentations, funded by the University of Colorado.  Magistrate Vigil served as a Judicial Law Clerk for Honorable Justice Alex Martinez, now retired from the Colorado Supreme Court.

Magistrate Vigil received a law degree and a master of arts degree from the University of Colorado. She also has a master of public health from the University of Illinois and master of science in pharmacy from the University of Florida.

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, Andrea Sivanich at 719-452-5498 or andrea.sivanich@judicial.state.co.us

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

If you have concerns regarding the safety and/or wellbeing of a child, please contact the El Paso County Child Abuse Hotline at (719) 444-5700 or childabusereport@elpasoco.com .

 

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