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Home Courts By District 1st Judicial District Family Integrated Treatment (FIT) Court
Home Courts By District 1st Judicial District Family Integrated Treatment (FIT) Court
Family Integrated Treatment (FIT) Court

The 1st Judicial District's FIT Court addresses child abuse or neglect due to parental substance abuse and works to reunite or keep families together safely.  FIT Court strives to empower families to look beyond compliance and abstinence, encouraging them to make a commitment to a lifestyle of recovery.

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Click here to access the FIT Court Program Handbook for an overview of the program and information on the team, phases, requirements, sanctions, incentives, and more!

About

Welcome to the 1st Judicial District/Jefferson County’s Family Integrated Treatment (FIT) Court program!  FIT Court started in 2008 and is based on a National Drug Court model and takes pride in incorporating Family Drug Court best practices.  This is a voluntary, family-based program within the Dependency and Neglect System.  FIT Court was created to work with parents and children who have become involved with the Jefferson County Division of Children, Youth, and Families (JCDCYF) as a result of child abuse or neglect that is directly related to the parent’s substance abuse.  The purpose of this program is to offer families treatment, services, and support to establish and maintain sobriety and provide safety for their child(ren). The goals of the FIT Court program are to:

  • Reduce repeat Dependency and Neglect Findings
  • Reduce the number of days the children spend in out of home care, while increasing the use of kinship care
  • Increase permancy with parents and family
  • Improve treatment outcomes, including decreasing the start time to treatment and increasing time spent in treatment

For more information or to come visit, contact the FIT Court coordinator, Kelli Sutton: 720-772-2687 / kelli.sutton@judicial.state.co.us

Overview

Participants are required to enroll in substance abuse treatment, submit to random drug testing, attend frequent court reviews, attend support group meetings/activities, create a Recovery Plan, and demonstrate progress with any other treatment plan requirements such as mental health treatment, domestic violence treatment, and parenting support.  
Addiction is a family disease and impacts every person in the family, including your children, no matter how old they are. In addition to providing services to the participant, the FIT Court team will see what services the involved children may need and will help parents put those services in place. This may include educational, developmental, therapeutic, medical, or mentoring supports. The FIT Court team may also provide services to help heal the relationship between the parent and child. 
These requirements, along with any other orders given by the Court, will become part of the parent’s Treatment Plan. The Court will closely monitor the progress and compliance with these requirements and respond with rewards (incentives) and consequences (responses). The FIT Court program consists of 5 phases and takes a minimum of 11 months to complete, although most families complete the program in 12-18 months. 

Overview Presiding Judge

Ann Gail Meinster is the Presiding Juvenile Judge for the First Judicial District in Colorado. Judge Meinster hears delinquency, dependency and neglect, and domestic relation cases, and presides over the Family Integrated Treatment (FIT) Court, which is a dependency and neglect drug court.  Prior to her appointment to the district court bench in October 2011, she was a District Court Magistrate in Jefferson County. Before joining the bench, she was a partner in the firm of Meinster & Meinster, PC, where she practiced as a Guardian Ad Litem (GAL), Child and Family Investigator (CFI), and attorney for respondent parents throughout the state.  Judge Meinster is a graduate of Mt. Holyoke College in Massachusetts, received her law degree from the University of San Diego School of Law in California, and is licensed to practice law in California, Colorado, and Maryland. She formerly served as Assistant Park County Attorney representing the Department of Human Services, and has taught and facilitated trainings throughout Colorado regarding the role of the GAL in Dependency and Neglect (D&N) actions and the CFI in domestic relations matters.

Program Eligibility

FIT Court is a specialized voluntary program in a Dependency and Neglect case. It is the parent’s decision whether or not he/she wants to participate in FIT Court. FIT Court is a hard program, as it is tough work to get and stay clean and sober. 
In order to participate in FIT Court, parents must meet all of the following requirements: 
1. Family has an open Dependency and Neglect case through the Jefferson County Division of Children, Youth, and Families. 
2. Parent must be 16 years or older. 
3. Family includes at least one child 12 years old and under. 
4. Substance abuse is the primary presenting issue. 
5. The family’s final risk level on the Colorado Risk Assessment of Abuse and Neglect completed by the JCDCYF intake caseworker is “Moderate” or “High.” 
6. The Colorado Safety Assessment identifies a safety concern for the children related to alleged or observed substance use. 
7. Parent agrees to all requirements listed in FIT Court Agreement and Waiver, which outlines legal rights and responsibilities. 
8. Parent must sign the FIT Court Agreement and Waiver and Release of Information and enter into the program within 30 days of their case being filed or prior to adjudication, whichever occurs first. 

Entry Process

1. CYF intake workers will screen new families for FIT Court using the FIT Court eligibility criteria. 
2. If a family expresses interest in FIT Court, the intake worker will contact the FIT Court Supervisor and caseworkers, who will explain the FIT Court program in more detail. 
3. If the family continues to express interest, the FIT Court Supervisor and caseworkers will notify the County Attorney, who will notify the Family Court Facilitator to ensure FIT Court attorneys (RPC and GAL) will be present during the family’s TPC. 
4. All parents involved in a potential FIT case will be assigned a FIT Court RPC (if eligible) regardless of their intent to enter the program. 
5. If possible, FIT Court TPCs will be held on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Unless necessary, TPC will not be continued for FIT Court purposes. 
6. At the TPC, FIT Court RPCs will speak to the interested parents and review FIT Court program materials. 
7. If the family continues to express interest, the attorneys and caseworkers will set the case onto the next possible FIT Court docket. RPCs will continue to review FIT requirements and program materials with the parent. Parents should expect to be at FIT Court for approximately 3 hours in order to observe the docket. Parents must observe a full docket before entering into FIT Court. 
8. If the parent is ready to enter into FIT Court, he/she may do at the end of their first FIT court appearance/observation.
9. Interested parents must enter FIT Court prior to or at the same time as entering an admission, or within 30 days of the case being filed, whichever occurs first. All FIT paperwork must be submitted at time of entering FIT Court, including the FIT Court Agreement and Waiver, the FIT Court ROI, and the Parent Handbook Signature Page. 
10. By signing the FIT Court Agreement and Waiver, compliance with the FIT Court program becomes a part of the parent’s interim treatment plan. 
11. The parent will be ordered to comply with all aspects of the FIT Court program including: meeting with Savio, caseworker, and Guardian ad Litem; sobriety monitoring; and participating in treatment. The program’s incentives and responses are applicable. All progress markers will begin on the day the waiver is signed. 
12. The orientation phase begins the date the Agreement and Waiver is signed by the FIT Court Judicial Officer. 
13. FIT Court requirements will become part of the parent’s Court-ordered treatment plan when the treatment plan is formally adopted at the Dispositional Hearing. 

FIT Court Team Members

There are many people on the treatment team. The team works together to help involved families, but everyone has a different role. The FIT Court Treatment Team includes: 
Most importantly: the parent, children, extended family, and support and safety network 
Each team member knows that the parent and your support and safety network have the skills and knowledge to change your life. 
FIT Court Judicial Officer 
The FIT Court Judge is the lead member of FIT Court and presides at all team staffings and Court hearings. The Judge will make all final decisions about the parent’s FIT Court progress and case based on input from the parent and the treatment team. 
FIT Court Coordinator 
The FIT Court coordinator helps the program run smoothly, collects information about UAs and treatment, and tracks phase progress. The coordinator makes sure the team is following FIT Court’s rules and policies. 
Jefferson County Division of Children, Youth, and Families (JCDCYF): Supervisor and caseworker 
The JCDCYF caseworker will work with the family and refer to needed services and resources that will help parents complete their treatment plan, and will support families in getting those services. The caseworker’s goals are to help the children achieve safety, permanency, and wellbeing. 
Savio: Supervisor and Savio worker 
The Savio worker is a service provider who helps parents with hands-on life skills, parenting coaching and education, therapeutic services, and treatment support. Savio may also supervise parenting time. 
Guardian ad litem (GAL) 
The GAL is a lawyer who represents the children’s best interests. 
Respondent Parent Counsel (parent’s attorney) 
If parents are eligible, they will be appointed an attorney to advocate for their rights and wishes. Parents may also hire their own attorney. 
County Attorney 
The County Attorney represents JCDCYF. 
Treatment and service providers 
Substance abuse, mental health, domestic violence, peer support, and other treatment providers provide the team with information about the family’s progress and offer suggestions. 

 

 

 

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