Fort Dodge, Iowa— Staff members from LSI are helping thousands of children and adults through the Iowa Family Treatment Courts.
The courts (or FTCs) were created to provide an alternative treatment for parents with substance abuse issues involved in the child welfare system. The 12 Iowa FTCs each include 10 to 12 professionals from a range of human services agencies, including LSI.
Kimberly Young, a care coordinator with LSI’s Family Risk, Safety, and Permanency Services, has been a member of the Webster County FTC since 2014.
Kimberly says the FTCs meet with participants for two hours each week. It’s a time for court members to offer positive feedback and constructive criticism on the parent’s treatment, and connect them to the resources they need to thrive.
“It gives us a different way to communicate with our clients,” Kimberly says. “At LSI, we go into the home and work on their goals. But when we do FTC, we’re finding more resources in the area they can use.”
A recent study showed nearly 1,000 parents and more than 1,600 children have been served by the FTCs since the program began in 2007. More than 75 percent of families were reunited after parents completed treatment.
Matthew Manz, an LSI mental health provider and FTC member, says the courts are also beneficial to the entire state. The success of the program has saved $12 million of Iowa taxpayers’ money.
“Kids are staying in their home instead of going into foster care while mom or dad is in prison,” Matthew says. “We’re keeping these families together and it ultimately saves taxpayers money. As more and more data comes in, it’s clear this is a win-win for taxpayers and the families served.”