Ross Family Dependency Treatment Court Earns Certification


The Ross County Juvenile Court’s Family Dependency Treatment Court (FDTC) has earned final certification from the Ohio Supreme Court’s Commission on Specialized Dockets. The FDTC initially earned certification from the Ohio Supreme Court in May of 2017.

In order to again receive certification, the FDTC had to submit an application, undergo a site visit, and provide specific program materials in response to certification standards that went into effect in January 2014. Ohio Supreme Court Chief Justice Maureen O’Connor congratulated the Ross County FDTC team and Judge J. Jeffrey Benson for receiving final certification.

Specialized dockets are courts that are dedicated to specific types of offenses or offenders and use a combination of different techniques for holding offenders accountable while also addressing the underlying causes of their behavior. There are more than 210 specialized dockets in Ohio courts that deal with issues such as drugs and alcohol, mental health, domestic violence and human trafficking.

The standards provide a minimum level of uniform practices for specialized dockets throughout Ohio, and allow local courts to innovate and tailor to meet their community’s needs and resources.

The certification requirements include establishing eligibility requirements, evaluating effectiveness of the specialized docket, and assembling a treatment team for implementing daily operations of the specialized docket. The team can include licensed treatment providers, law enforcement, court personnel, and is headed by the specialized docket judge.

Judge Benson stated that “The Ross County Family Dependency Treatment Court has been successful because of the selfless efforts of FDTC Director Cheri Smitley and the entire FDTC team of providers. Our FDTC team is saving lives on a daily basis and reuniting children with their parents.”

The Commission on Specialized Dockets has 22 members who advise the Supreme Court and its staff regarding the promotion of statewide rules and uniform standards concerning specialized dockets in Ohio courts; the development and delivery of specialized docket services to Ohio courts; and the creation of training programs for judges and court personnel. The Commission makes all decision regarding final certification.

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