News from the courts/agencies

Thursday, Jun. 16, 2016
Trial Court to announce opening of state's first Family Drug Court, June 17
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On Friday, June 17, Trial Court Chief Justice Paula Carey, Chief Justice of the Probate and Family Court Angela Ordoñez, and Commissioner of Probation Edward Dolan, will attend an official opening ceremony at Greenfield Community College to announce the opening of the state's first family drug court, operated through the Franklin County Probate and Family Court. The ceremony begins at 9:30 a.m.

Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey will be the keynote speaker. Other speakers and attendees will include Franklin Register of Probate John F. Merrigan, Franklin County Sheriff Christopher Donelan, Northwestern District Attorney David E. Sullivan, and Dr. Ruth Potee. The event will be hosted by Franklin Probate and Family Court First Justice Beth Crawford, who will be the presiding judge of the Family Drug Court.

In 2013, court and community leaders came together to form the Franklin County Opioid Task Force to address the growing problem of opioid addiction in Western Massachusetts. The court partnered with the Task Force to create a new, innovative model for serving families, and developed a model for a family drug court as a new approach to handling the increasing number of custody and parenting cases where substance abuse is a factor.

The Franklin Family Drug Court came about with the assistance of community partners and the support of other state agencies, including the Massachusetts Department of Revenue Child Support Enforcement Unit, the Family Resource Center run by Community Action, Greenfield Community College, and local treatment providers and recovery communities. It is a voluntary program.