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Legacy Family Court Gives Families a Chance in Substance Abuse Cases

Dallas, TX, June 01, 2013 --( Legacy Family Court, Dallas County’s first family drug court, was created to provide a non-adversarial option to address the growing number of children removed by CPS from their families as a result of a substance addicted parent or parents.

Legacy Family Court offers a unique, team-based approach designed to promote long-term sobriety and reunite families. Participation in Legacy Family Court is optional, and eligible parents may elect to participate in the family drug court process instead of following the traditional, adversarial family court approach. The Legacy Family Court program lasts up to 18 months.

Legacy Family Court is the result of work by District Judge Tena Callahan and Assoc. Judge Christine Collie of the 302nd District Court, with Judge Collie overseeing the court and presiding over its cases. The Court has been a success thus far and as Judge Collie states “The Court has been in operation for about a year now, and we are so proud of our program participants, all of whom are staying clean and making progress toward becoming better parents and more stable citizens.”

Parents participating in the Legacy Family Court process are assigned a case worker and begin the four-phase process with a comprehensive drug assessment and intensive treatment. Following the initial assessment, treatment recommendations are made and the parent begins the treatment process based on those recommendations. Most parents attend intensive inpatient treatment to begin the road to long-term sobriety and reunification with their children.

The next phase focuses on stabilization with the goal of continued abstinence from drugs and alcohol. During this stabilization phase, parents receive mental health evaluation and treatment, housing assistance, educational assistance and training, and parenting training. The third phase focuses on reunifying parents with their children and skills building. Finally, the fourth phase focuses on empowering parents to remain drug and alcohol free while raising their children in a safe, secure environment.

Throughout the process, the parents participate in weekly hearings which are preceded by “team meetings” attended by those involved in the case.

Judge Collie states “I am tremendously grateful to the Legacy Family Court Team, the men and women from the Dallas County public defender and district attorney’s offices, CPS, Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA), Child & Family Guidance, the volunteer attorneys, our court coordinator, and all of the treatment centers and other service providers who give so many hours to this transformative work.” The LFC “team” works with the parent to encourage and promote sobriety and success working through all phases of the program.

Every parent participating in the Legacy Family Court program is subject to frequent and random drug testing, as often as twice a week. Parents are offered rewards and encouragement for their success in the program. Parents who do not comply with the program are faced with consequences, including the possibility of termination of their parental rights.

Participation in the family drug court process is considered a privilege and an opportunity to those who are eligible. The Court is a positive opportunity for participants, as Christopher Taylor, the Legacy Family Court Coordinator explains, “Legacy Family Court is a chance for a new beginning for mothers and fathers struggling with alcohol and substance abuse.”

Legacy Family Court receives the majority of its funding from the Legacy Family Court Foundation a 501(c)(3) entity and donations from the community. The Court is the beneficiary of this year’s Dallas Bar Association’s Family Law Section Annual Golf Tournament, scheduled for October 4, 2013, at Stevens Park Golf Club.

For more information about Legacy Family Court and how to sign up for the Dallas Bar Association’s Family Law Section Annual Golf Tournament or donations send an email to

For more information:
Tim Pugliese
Communications Representative
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Godwin Lewis PC
Ed Sothcott

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