Family Recovery Court: Healing, Growth, and Reunification

Family Recovery CourtFamily Recovery Court (FRC) is a voluntary program designed to work with families who struggle with substance use and are involved with the child welfare system.

The mission of this program is to ensure that parents who enter FRC transform into responsible caregivers with the resources to provide safe, stable homes for their children through the collaborative services of the court, treatment, and community. 

Who is Eligible for FRC? 

Parents are eligible for the FRC program if the Cabinet for Health and Family Services (CHFS) filed a petition based on substance use and the petition has been reviewed by the courts. 

The breakdown of eligibility includes:  

  • Dependency case must be in Jefferson County. 
  • At least one parent has substance use related issues. 
  • The primary goal for the family must be reunification. 
  • The parent(s) must agree to the terms of FRC. 
  • The parent(s) must enter the program voluntarily and want to receive treatment. 

How does FRC Work?  

Family Recovery Court banner

The court room is child-friendly and decorated with colorful banners, artwork, and stuffed animals.

Participants enter the program no later than 30 days post-case review. Upon entry, participants’ CHFS case moves to a specialized Jefferson County FRC team (JFRC), and a specialized JFRC case manager is assigned. Seven Counties Services aids the Department for Community Based Services (DCBS) to provide treatment and accountability to parents with substance use disorders. This includes opioids, stimulants, and general substance misuse. Through our services, we offer access to treatment and recovery services to protect children, reunify them with parents when safe, and expedite permanency. Participants are involved in the program for approximately 12-18 months. 

In the program, clients progress through three phases, with each phase focusing on a different area of need. These include:  

Phase I: Establishing & Maintaining Sobriety. 

Phase II: Enhancing Parenting Skills & Knowledge. Participants participate in “Parenting Through Recovery” trauma informed group and mental health treatment 

Phase III: Reunification & Development of Basic Life Skills. Participants complete the “Project LIFE” evidence-based life skills program. 

Highlights of the program include:  

  • Weekly FRC sessions with participants. 
  • Weekly case staffing with FRC Judge. 
  • Weekly case consultations between Seven Counties Services and Child Protective Services (CPS). 
  • Milestone assignments completed at each phase. 
  • “Sober bucks” earned through recovery activities. 
  • Celebrations and learning experiences issued by the Judge. 
  • Family team meetings at each phase of the program. 

FRC is a Collaborative Effort  

The FRC program’s success is due to a collaborative approach to treating substance use disorder in families who have or are at risk of losing custody of their children. Primary collaborators are: 

Through this collaborative approach, participants of the program have access to these services:  

  • Thorough Treatment Assessments 
  • Case Planning 
  • Referrals to Community Based Services 
  • Family Team Meetings  
  • Monthly Home Visits from Specialized Child Welfare Case Manager  
  • Regular Court Appearances Before a Family Court Judge 
  • Regular Urine Drug Screen Monitoring 
  • Parenting Time 
  • Financial Daycare Assistance 
  • Referrals to Community Based Substance Use Treatment 
  • Specialized Community Mental Health Case Manager 
  • Weekly Contact with Specialized Child Welfare Case Manager 
  • Intensive Judicial Monitoring by Family Treatment Court Judge 
  • Specialized Trauma-Informed Parenting Group 
  • Life Skills Class 
  • Monetary Incentives for Completing Case Tasks 
  • Peer Support Specialist 
  • Collaborative Weekly Consultation with a Multi-Disciplinary Team 
  • Employment/Housing Support 
  • Evidenced Based Practices – Motivational Interviewing and Trauma Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy 
  • Required Attendance at Community Support Meetings (AA/NA, SMART Recovery)  
  • Parenting Through Recovery group 

The Parenting Through Recovery group is a six-task group that focuses on parental accountability for the impact of substance use on one’s children. Tasks help participants identify thinking errors used during active use, their own childhood trauma, and red flags. Participants are also asked to write about their substance use from their child’s perspective to build empathy. The final piece of the curriculum is the completion of a clarification letter to the participant’s children. 

Results in Action 

Since 2019, FRC has served 95 families, including 13 couples, 108 parents, and 227 children. 80 children have been reunified, seven healthy babies have been born, two program graduates have been hired as peer support specialists, and 15 children have remained in their parent’s custody due to joining the FRC program. Additionally, the average length of time in Out of Home Care (OOHC) for FRC participants is 10 months. This is significantly shorter than the average OOHC in Kentucky (26 months) and Jefferson County (28 months).  

Mercury Cougler, a 2022 FRC Graduate, and current Seven Counties Services Peer Support Specialist, shared her experience going through the FRC program and why she decided to become a Peer Support Specialist.  

Mercury Cougler

Mercury Cougler, Peer Support Specialist.

“I am a grateful recovering addict, and my clean date is 03.25.2022. That’s the day I decided to completely surrender and came to terms with the fact that my way wasn’t working. I was defeated. I realized I had nothing to lose and everything to gain by giving this recovery thing a try. I had lost myself, my mind, my morals, my word, and my family. I knew deep down that I had so much potential and so much to offer the world, but I had little to no self-love and knew nothing about self-worth, so I continued to live the way that was familiar to me. I’ve accomplished so many things, and the confidence and faith I have in myself today is priceless. I completed my parole after eight long years, I work a recovery program, and most importantly, I help other people just like me help themselves. Seeing the light come back on in people like us who have been in the dark for so long is one of the many blessings in recovery. This program changes lives and I can say that because it changed mine.” Mercury Cougler 

Join us in this transformative journey towards healing, growth, and family reunification. Your path to recovery starts here. Learn more about FRC and how to get involved by calling (502) 589-1100, or speak to your current CPS worker. 

Schedule Appointment

Seven Counties Services serves everyone regardless of diagnosis or insurance status. We ensure that getting started on your journey to recovery is as easy as possible. To schedule your first appointment, you can call directly or complete an online appointment request.

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