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Participant rules and expectations – Family Treatment Court

Learn more about being a participant in the Family Treatment Court (FTC) Program, including graduation requirements.

After applying and entering the Family Treatment Court (FTC) Program, you must follow the rules and show up for your appointments.


As a FTC participant, you must:

  • Not use or possess any drugs or alcohol. Sobriety is the primary focus of this program. Maintaining a drug free lifestyle is very important in your recovery process. Carefully choose the people with whom you associate.
  • Take prescription medications as prescribed by your doctor. If any medications show up as a positive drug test and you have not complied with the following conditions, you will be sanctioned.
  • If a physician prescribes medication for you:
    • You must first tell your treating doctor that you are participating in treatment and that you are required to abstain from mood-altering medications so that the doctor can make decisions with full knowledge of your situation.
    • You must contact your treatment provider and social worker immediately to let them know exactly what medications your treating doctor has prescribed.
    • You must not take more medication than your doctor ordered or get multiple prescriptions from different doctors.
  • Attend all ordered treatment. You may be ordered to do both inpatient and outpatient treatment. You must complete treatment as directed by the treatment center and the court. This includes individual and group counseling, educational sessions and sober-support meetings. If you leave treatment against the advice of the treatment center, additional treatment and/or sanctions may be imposed.
  • If you are unable to attend a scheduled session, you must contact your treatment counselor before a session is missed.
  • Report to your Washington State Department of Children, Youth and Families (DCYF) Social Worker as directed. If you have any problems making an appointment, contact your DCYF Social Worker immediately. This is especially important for requested drug testing.
  • Be on time for visits and all treatment activities. Being late has consequences. Visitation providers will leave and not allow you to visit if you are more than 15 minutes late. On the 3rd late visit, the visitation provider will no longer provide visits and a new provider will need to be found. This could mean that you may miss the next few visits. If you are late for treatment, you may not be allowed to attend your counseling session and will be considered non-compliant. Contact your treatment counselor if there is a possibility you may be late.
  • Maintain appropriate behavior. Violent or inappropriate behavior will not be tolerated and will be reported to Court. This may result in termination from the Family Treatment Court Program. Attend all court hearings and plan to stay until the end. If you must leave early, contact the Family Treatment Court Program Manager a day prior to court to allow enough time for the team to be notified.
  • Dress appropriately for Court and treatment sessions. Dress to make a positive impression. Clothing bearing drug or alcohol related themes or promoting or advertising alcohol or drug use or violence is considered inappropriate. Speak with your DCYF Social Worker if you need assistance with clothing. Participate in Dependency Court Services.
  • Attend all visitations.
  • Be honest. Honesty is essential to your recovery and to your success in the Family Treatment Court. This rule is intended to encourage and reward upfront honesty that supports sobriety and will be applied accordingly.

What to expect as a participant

The FTC is designed to help you through program and create new habits and support systems. We expect most parents to complete the program between 12 and 18 months.


There are 5 phases in FTC, each with its own set of requirements. In order to advance to the next phase, you have to complete all requirements for that phase. For example, 90 days of consecutive sober time is one of the requirements you need to move from Phase 2 to Phase 3.

Court visits

During the first phase of FTC, you will come to court every week.

FTC is in session on Wednesdays in Kent starting at 10:30 am and Thursdays in Seattle starting at 1:30 pm. Court usually lasts about 2 hours but could be longer depending on the calendar. You will be expected to stay until the courtroom is dismissed. If you have an urgent matter and need to leave, please notify the Family Treatment Court Program Supervisor a day prior to court.

As you advance in the program, court hearings will take place less often. The Family Treatment Court Judge will review how you are doing making progress toward your goals. As you continue the program, you may be asked to come in weekly. A you will advance to coming every other week, then every month, then every 4-6 weeks. This is up the judge.

Other requirements

Urinalysis testing (UA) and other types of drug tests are a very important tool used to ensure compliance with the program. You may have random (unscheduled) or observed drug tests 2 to 3 times a week. Generally, you will test less frequently as you move through the program levels. Court-ordered sober support attendance is required along with drug testing. If you have concerns about drug testing, please contact your FTC Social Worker

You will also be required to participate in treatment which includes individual and group counseling. Like court and testing, treatment appointments may take place less often as you advance in the program. 

For example, Family Recovery Support Specialists host sober support meetings for FTC parents 4 days a week, both in person and remotely. Contact a Family Recovery Support Specialist for more information.


Incentives are rewards for your progress and successes as you move through the program. Success can include: regular attendance at treatment, ongoing periods of sobriety (negative drug tests for 30, 60, 90, and 120 days, 6 months, 9 months, 1 year and 18 months), and advancing to the next level of the program. Incentives can include gift cards, toys for children, recovery books, in-court recognition by the judge, vouchers for food or clothing, and passes for family outings such as movies or the zoo.


The Family Treatment Court uses responses if you don't follow the court order. The kind of behavior resulting in a response can include: positive, or dilute UAs, not showing up for UA testing, failing to go to treatment, or failing to come to court. Responses range from conversations with the judge to writing assignments, peer mentoring, increased sober supports, and accountability panel.

Missing treatment or group without authorization is a violation of your court order. You can be put on a Structured Recovery Plan for continually violating your court order, not following your treatment plan, and not following FTC rules.

Relapse alone is not a reason to end a parent's participation in the program. If you relapse, you should notify someone on your team immediately.

Create a support network

Your Wrap-Around Team consists of your FTC team, your family, and any other people you choose to be part of your team. Through regular Wrap-Around meetings, you and your team develop a plan to support your progress and your family. This becomes your family's plan of care and is built around the strengths of your child and family. More information about this can be obtained through your social worker.

How to graduate

For most parents, successful completion of the Family Treatment Court program takes a minimum of 1 year. Most parents are expected to complete the program in 18 months.

Complete the program and graduate after you:

  • Remain sober for 120 consecutive days.
  • Have your children returned and living at home for 6 months or in permanent placements.
  • Successfully discharge from a substance abuse treatment program.
  • Maintain consistent attendance at a sober support program or community-based support program.
  • Have housing arranged in a drug-free home.
  • Resolve any of your outstanding warrants.
  • Create a support system.
  • Create a relapse prevention program plan.
  • Start your life plan (such as employment, education, and vocational training).
  • Complete dependency court services.

Court report requirement

To graduate, you must complete the requirements of all 5 phases. A requirement in the fourth phase is to complete all requirements of the Washington State Department of Children, Youth and Families (DCYF) Court Report. The Court Report is a very important document that is filed with the court. It summarizes what needs to happen in order to have your children returned to your custody and the dependency dismissed. Your DCYF social worker prepares the Court Report based on your initial meetings. Talk to your Social Worker about what you are required to do.