News from the courts/agencies

Thursday, Sep. 21, 2017
Massachusetts Trial Court awarded federal grant to significantly expand Franklin County Family Drug Court
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On Friday, April 7, Trial Court Chief Justice Paula M. Carey will host the opening ceremony of the Franklin County Justice Center. In addition to Chief Justice Carey, speakers will include Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito, Senate President Stanley C. Rosenberg, Trial Court Administrator Harry Spence, Commissioner of the Division of Capital Asset Management and Maintenance Carol Gladstone, Representative Stephen Kulik of the 1st Franklin District, Representative Paul Mark of the 2nd Berkshire District, Representative Susannah Whipps of the 2nd Franklin District, Northwestern District Attorney David E. Sullivan, Franklin County Bar Association Chair John Stobierski, and Greenfield District Court First Justice William F. Mazanec. Franklin County Register of Probate John F. Merrigan will deliver welcoming remarks.
The renovation of the Franklin County Justice Center began in 2014. The new courthouse incorporates the historic 1932 façade of the original building with a 104,000 square foot, three-story addition. The Justice Center's six courtrooms include updated technological capabilities to allow for hearings to be conducted by video conference and newly installed recording equipment for court proceedings. The courthouse will also offer WiFi for visitors. The expanded building houses five court departments: Juvenile, Superior, District, Housing, and Probate and Family Courts, as well as the Law Library, Court Service Center, and Registry of Deeds.
Franklin County Justice Center
43 Hope Street, Greenfield, MA 01301
Friday, April 7, 2017
2:00 p.m. - 4:00 p.m.

The Massachusetts Trial Court announced this week that it has been awarded a five-year federal grant totaling $2.1 million to address the impact of opioid, other substance use, and co-occurring disorders on families in rural western Massachusetts.

"This collaboration between the Massachusetts Trial Court, the Franklin Division of the Probate and Family Court's Family Drug Court, the Franklin/Hampshire Juvenile Court, University of Massachusetts Medical School, the Center of Excellence for Specialty Courts, state substance use and mental health authorities, and our local treatment partners, will become a model for providing recovery services in a region that greatly needs it," said Trial Court Chief Justice Paula M. Carey.

The grant will be used to expand the current efforts of the Franklin County Probate and Family Court's Family Drug Court, which began in  June 2017 and is the first of its kind in Massachusetts. The Franklin County Family Drug Court has served 18 recovering parents, 26 children and 23 caregivers since it opened in the summer of 2016. The grant from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) will enable the Family Drug Court to expand service to an additional 175 parents, 240 children and 180 caregivers through the implementation of a robust and comprehensive array of evidence-based substance use disorder treatment and services with community based resources that support court-involved families based on that family's needs.

"On a daily basis in my courtroom, I see the devastating impact of substance use upon parents, their children, and other family members," said Franklin County Probate and Family Court First Justice Beth A. Crawford, who presides over the Family Drug Court. "This infusion of resources will allow us to develop a responsive trauma-informed system of care that will offer hope and help as families pursue their recovery."

Franklin County spans 725 miles with a population of 83,811 has been hard hit by the opiate crisis and has struggled to meet the substance use and mental health needs of its residents.

"Lower population density in this rural region makes it more difficult for residents to receive support services including substance use disorder treatment, emergency services, public transportation, education, child care and health and mental health care," said Juvenile Court Chief Justice Amy L. Nechtem. "The Franklin Family Drug Court expansion will have a huge impact on families in western Massachusetts."

The MISSION model, Maintaining Independence and Sobriety through Systems Integration, Outreach and Networking-Criminal Justice (MISSION-CJ), is an evidence-based treatment model that has been successfully tested in other projects in Massachusetts, including veterans' treatment courts in Boston and Dedham in 2014 and 2015, and Drug Courts in Quincy and Barnstable District Courts in 2015, 2016 and 2017. The MISSION treatment model targets reduced recidivism and homelessness, improved mental health support, substance use recovery and increased steady employment for those participating in the Trial Court's current MISSION-based programs.  

"The MISSION model exemplifies the effectiveness of a coordinated, evidence-based team approach to treat people in crisis and prepare them to succeed as contributing members of society," said UMass Medical Professor of Psychiatry Dr. David Smelson, who developed the MISSION model.