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About the Family Treatment Court Program

Learn more about the history and purpose of the program that is an alternative to regular Dependency Court for parents who want to support their family.

The Family Treatment Court (FTC) started in August 2004 with Judge Clark presiding. Family Treatment Court (FTC) is an alternative to regular dependency court. It is designed to improve the safety and well-being of children in the dependency system.

Learn more in our FTC video:

Voluntary program

Parents voluntarily enter the program to reunite with their children. They agree to increased court participation, chemical dependency treatment, and intense case management.

Parents get access to:

  • Drug and alcohol treatment
  • Judicial monitoring of their sobriety
  • Individualized services to support the entire family


We hope that parents complete the Family Treatment Court program in about 12 months. Most parents are expected to complete the program in 18 months. Some parents may take longer than 18 months.

Case review hearings initially occur every other week. They then become less frequent as parents progress through the program.

Focused on what's best for the children

We give incentives to reward parents' achievements.

When parents violate the program rules, more steps may be added to your plan. If a parent is unable to follow the FTC program, the court finds the best solution for the children.

FTC uses a collaborative, non-adversarial approach. We integrate substance abuse treatment and increased accountability into the process. The court's first preference is always to help make families whole or to find children a stable environment with their own relatives.

Each family has an FTC team that reviews parents' participation and recommends services.

The team includes:

  • Parents' attorneys
  • Assistant attorney general
  • Washington State Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS) social worker
  • Substance abuse counselor
  • CASA or child's attorney
  • FTC treatment specialist
  • FTC program manager
  • The judge

This interdisciplinary team is cross-trained and works collaboratively to resolve issues.