Deputy Chief Judge M. Joseph Donald

Milwaukee, Wis. (May 24, 2018) — In recognition of National Drug Court Month, the Milwaukee County Family Drug Treatment Court (FDTC) will celebrate by acknowledging its fiftieth graduate on Friday, May 25, 2018 at 2:30 p.m. at the Vel R. Phillips Juvenile Justice Center, Jury Management room 1044.

Established in April, 2011, FDTC was the first of its kind in the State of Wisconsin. Based on the success we have experienced in Milwaukee County, several other Wisconsin counties are now planning, piloting, or implementing their own FDTC, joining the approximately 380 FDTCs across the country. FDTCs are designed to help break the cycle of substance use through family-centered treatment and support services with the ultimate goal of protecting children and creating more stable home environments. The FTDC’s approach represents an important system change, realigning formerly adversarial institutions, legal parties, child welfare and treatment systems, into partnerships to achieve the best possible outcome for children and families. The focus is on engaging parents in treatment, helping them learn to live life in recovery, improve their parenting skills and address the needs of their children impacted by their substance use disorders. The primary goal of the court is to achieve safety and permanency for the children and the healing of families.

Chief Judge Maxine Aldridge White celebrates the accomplishments of the FDTC stating, “Our trauma-informed and committed Children’s Court leadership, along with the systems-changing collaboration of community partners in the Milwaukee County FDTC has been phenomenal and the work of the families and their teams have been inspiring.”

After six years in operation FTDC continues to see the results of its collaborative efforts in terms of positive outcomes for our families. Graduate Ivy Hayes said it so eloquently, “FDTC loved me until I learned how to love myself, they gave me structure and held me accountable, in a loving, caring way. They are the most supportive, caring people I know. They helped me get my life and family back.”

Nationally, between 60% and 80% of substantiated child welfare cases involve parental substance use disorder and more than 80% of these parents never complete substance abuse treatment. Participants in FDTCs are 20-40% more likely to be reunified with their child. In Milwaukee County, FDTC families were 43% more likely to be reunified after substantial participation in the Milwaukee County FDTC. Long term, FDTCs reduce child welfare and court costs significantly. Learn more about national treatment court research at, and about FDTCs at Children and Family Futures,

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