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Erie County Family Court

Family Treatment Court

On May 25, 2001, County and Court officials came together to announce the establishment of a new branch of Family Court to handle cases involving the abuse of drugs and alcohol by parents. The Family Treatment Court (FTC) is a project initiated by the Erie County Family Court in partnership with the Erie County Department of Social Services. The mission of the Erie County FTC is to provide safe, permanent, healthy homes for children in the shortest possible time. The treatment court model represents a comprehensive approach designed to act in the best interest of the child by maximizing the opportunity for reunification or preservation of the family. It seeks to do so by breaking the cycle of addiction as well as the patterns of neglect associated with the parents’ chemical dependency. The Honorable Margaret O. Szczur presides over the FTC whose objective is to provide early intervention and speedy enrollment of substance-addicted parents into appropriate treatment programs and other services. Since it’s inception, 436 Respondents have been included for Family Treatment Court consideration which has affected over 700 children in Erie County.

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Juvenile Treatment Court

The Erie County Juvenile Treatment Court (ECJTC) began operations in March of 2003 in Erie County Family Court. The mission of the Erie County Juvenile Treatment Court (ECJTC) is to reduce substance abuse and criminal behaviors of non-violent substance abusing youth involved in the criminal justice system. The ECJTC uses a strength based approach to help create safe communities and promote healthy, productive youth. The ECJTC helps to reduce drug use through therapeutic interventions and intense judicial supervision of the juveniles and their families.

This comprehensive approach is designed to not only break the juvenile drug-crime cycle of addiction, through monitored service delivery, but is also designed to shorten out-of-home placement through ongoing case monitoring and expedited, informed case conferencing.The presiding Family Court Judge, the Honorable Paul Buchanan, is assisted by the dedicated staff from the Erie County Probation Juvenile Division, the Public Defender’s Office, and Law Guardians from The Legal Aid Bureau of Buffalo, Inc. A team of professional and experienced Court -based Case Managers, under the supervision of the ECJTC Coordinator, monitors the progress of the ECJTC participants in life areas including: school attendance, family unity, compliance with treatment services, and reports from Probation and other resources.

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Treatment Court Staff

Erie County Family Treatment Court Staffing:

Treatment Court Coordinator: Case Management is supervised by the Treatment Court Coordinator who is employed by the Court, is a Licensed Master of Social Work (LMSW) and holds a NYS Certified Alcohol and Substance Abuse Counselor Training Certificate (CASAC-T). The Coordinator oversees the team of Treatment Court Case Managers. The Coordinator also oversees all record keeping, statistical reporting, program material development, operational program development, personnel issues, budget, grant writing and grant management.

Family Treatment Court Case Manager: Currently Erie County has two full-time case managers for the Adult Family Treatment Court. Both case managers possess Bachelor Degrees and have received extensive training in substance abuse and mental health issues, as well as attended Federal and State level trainings provided to the Drug Treatment Courts. Case Managers performs initial screenings on referred respondents, link them with treatment, and provide the ongoing reports on participant compliance with their chemical dependency and recovery programs. The Case Managers monitor all areas of treatment to ensure that the program is delivering the proper level of treatment and services needed during all phases of the program. The Case Managers act as liaisons between Family Court and treatment providers.

Juvenile Treatment Court Case Manager: The Juvenile Treatment Court has one full-time Case Manager, as well as one part-time Case Manager. The full-time Case Manager holds a NYS Certified Alcohol and Substance Abuse Counseling License (CASAC) and has also received Federal and State level trainings provided to the Drug Treatment Courts. The case managers perform initial evaluations for the juvenile respondent that will provide guidance for referrals into the appropriate levels of care and prompt referrals to a OASAS licenced substance abuse treatment facility. The treatment approach, utilized by the ECJTC, is holistic in nature and the case managers also make referrals and linkages for other service needs for the juvenile and their family.

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Contact Information

** Please note: respondents are referred to the Adult Family Treatment Court by the Family Court Judge presiding over their Neglect case. Juvenile respondents are referred to the Juvenile Treatment Court Program by the Family Court Judge presiding over their Juvenile Delinquency case.

Hon. Margaret O. Szczur
Erie Family and Juvenile Treatment Courts
Phone: (716) 845-7481

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