Family Court

 Family and Women's Services Unit

The Family and Women Services Unit serves six (6) functions within the Family Court which include the Investigative Unit, the Drug and Alcohol Screening Unit, the Supervised Parenting Time Program, the Family Court aides, the Safe and Secure Babies Calendar, and the Family Treatment Drug Calendar. All services are provided at no cost.

The Investigative Unit:
Investigative referrals are court-ordered and may include criminal checks, Department of Children, Youth, and Families (DCYF) checks, and checking on other pertinent information. The Investigator interviews any and all parties ordered by the judicial officer or whoever the investigator feels will have relevant information for the case. The investigator compiles records from counseling agencies, schools, and related organizations. The investigator may interview, with proper releases, school officials and counselors as well as interview parties, children, and view the homes. The investigator submits reports and exhibits (records) to the court for review. All investigators attend trainings similar to those attended by the visitation facilitators of the Family Services Unit. Access to the investigator’s reports is not allowed without a court order.

Drug and Alcohol Screening Unit:
The Drug and Alcohol Screening Unit performs drug and alcohol screenings ordered by the court. Screens take place in the Garrahy and Noel Judicial Complexes. The Drug and Alcohol Screening Unit  may only perform tests specifically ordered by the judicial officer. Tests not ordered by the judicial officer are not performed and walk-ins are not accepted. Screens are performed Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Results are only reported to the judicial officer and cannot be released to anyone unless ordered by the court.

The Supervised Parenting Time Program:
The Supervised Parenting Time Program grants the non-custodial parent access to and visitation with the child(ren) during non-traditional workday hours. This non-traditional time schedule is intended to accommodate parents who otherwise might not be available for supervised visitation during traditional workday hours. This program is ordered by the court and does not accept out-of-state referrals or orders, referrals from social services agencies (DCYF), or referrals from mental health agencies.

The purpose of the Supervised Parenting Time Program is to provide a safe environment where the parent(s) and the child(ren) can enjoy positive interactions. The facilitator’s presence is for the protection of the child(ren) as well as the parent(s). The facilitator’s role is to observe the interactions between the parent(s) and the child(ren), intervene as necessary, and to report all findings to the judicial officer presiding over the case.  

Family Court Aides:
The aides assist the court by calling and managing the confidential juvenile justice calendars.

The Safe and Secure Baby Calendar:
This specialty calendar seeks to serve parents of new babies (zero (0) to eighteen (18) months). The parents may have been in the system as juveniles, have mental health issues, housing insecurity, domestic violence exposure, a substance use history without present active use, or lack parenting skills and natural supports. 

The Family Treatment Drug Calendar:
This specialty calendar is a collaborative effort between the judicial officer, court social workers, DCYF, and other treatment providers. The calendar offers intensive court supervision, court ordered substance use treatment services, and other ancillary services, with the goal of allowing the participating adult mothers and fathers to address addiction challenges, keep the child(ren) in the home or work toward reunification, and learn the necessary skills to move on to a healthy, substance-free future.