Charles County Circuit Court Celebrates Role in Helping Families Impacted by Substance Abuse

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In Charles County, many of the civil custody proceedings and Child in Need of Assistance (CINA) cases are related to substance abuse issues. The Circuit Court for Charles County strives to help litigants involved in these cases curb their drug addiction through its Family Recovery Court program. Current participants and staff recently gathered to celebrate the Family Recovery Court’s role in assisting Charles County families impacted by substance abuse issues. Judge Helen I. Harrington presided over the celebration.

“Our program’s mission is to help participants who are battling substance abuse issues obtain the intensive treatment and services they need to grow and build stable family environments,” Judge Harrington said. “The program is demanding, but the results are life-changing for the participants who follow the program and make positive choices.”

A participant of the Family Recovery Court program served as a guest speaker. “I burned a lot of bridges with family and friends while I used drugs, so I had no one else to turn to before I entered this program,” the participant said. “Court staff and the friends that I have made during the program have helped me beat my addiction, but the biggest factor in me becoming drug-free was the thought of having my daughter back in my life.”

Established in 2011, the Charles County Circuit Court Family Recovery Court provides litigants who are referred to the voluntary program access to inpatient and outpatient drug treatment programs, parenting training, and other supportive services. Approximately 25 participants are currently enrolled in the program, which takes 18 months to two years to complete. Since the program’s founding, 18 participants have completed the program successfully.

The Charles County Circuit Court Family Recovery Court is one of Maryland’s 55 problem-solving courts, which is a part of the Judiciary’s network of specialty dockets that respond to the underlying problems that bring people into court, such as drug or alcohol addiction, mental illness and/or family or personal issues. The program is a collaborative effort between the Charles County Circuit Court, the Southern Maryland office of the Legal Aid Bureau, Inc. and the county Department of Social Services, Department of Health, Sheriff’s Office, Office of the Public Defender, and Parole and Probation Office.

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