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.