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Thurston County, Washington

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Superior Court

If you know a parent who has a case in the Child Dependency System where drug/alcohol use was the primary reason for removal of the children, Family Recovery Court may be an option.  Please contact the Family Recovery Court Coordinator for more information.

Liesa Rodriguez


The Thurston County Family Recovery Court (FRC) started in 2000 as an alternative to the regular dependency court system for parents with substance abuse issues. Family Recovery Court is a voluntary program that seeks to improve outcomes for families involved in the dependency system by providing opportunities for treatment, empowerment, and healing to address the needs of parents and their children as the family works toward the ultimate goal of reunification. This is accomplished through the collaborative work of the multiple agencies who oversee these cases and strive to ensure every child receives permanency in a safe, stable home.

When participants enter FRC they agree to participate in all court-ordered services, complete random drug tests, attend sober support meetings, attend frequent court hearings, and engage in intensive case management. Participants will generally be in FRC between 12 and 24 months. Participants initially appear for review hearings every week that become less frequent as the participant progresses in the program. The multi-disciplinary FRC Staffing Team meets every week before court to discuss participants’ progress. The FRC judge addresses any concerns or issues brought up during staffing with the participant during their review hearing. Graduated responses are used to promote behavior change and graduated incentives are used to positively reinforce positive behavior.

Family Recovery Court is made possible by the collaborative work of multiple agencies and community partners, including: Thurston County Family & Juvenile Court, Assistant Attorney General, parents’ attorneys, DCYF social workers, Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA), treatment providers, parent allies, Parent-Child Assistance Program, Office of Public Defense social workers, and the Behavioral Health Organization. These representatives provide oversight of FRC cases and provide individualized case management. The FRC Coordinator is responsible for the centralized coordination of these cases.


  • The candidate has a dependency case in Thurston County Superior Court.
  • Substance abuse by the candidate is alleged in the petition.
  • Dependency have been established.
  • There is a primary or alternative plan of “Return Home”.
  • The candidate has completed a chemical dependency assessment, been

    diagnosed with a substance use disorder and is amendable to treatment.
  • The candidate has observed at least one FRC court session.
  • The candidate agrees to the expectations and guidelines of FRC and is willing to sign the FRC contract.


Step 1

Candidates meet with the FRC Coordinator to complete an intake application.

Step 2

The FRC Staffing Team reviews the intake application for eligibility. With input from the team, the FRC Judge makes the final decision about candidate admittance.

Step 3

If the candidate found eligible, they meet with their attorney to review and sign the FRC Parent-Attorney Contract.

Step 4

The candidate is admitted into FRC during a regularly scheduled court session and is expected to start coming every week for review hearings.

Step 5

The newly admitted participant meets with the FRC Coordinator for program orientation within 7 days of entering the program.

Vision, Mission, and Goals

Rebuilding Lives & Reuniting Families

The mission of the Thurston County Family Recovery Court is to reunify families in safe, substance-free homes, empower parents in recovery and reduce the likelihood of future involvement with the child welfare system.

Recovery:  Empower, support, and monitor participants as they engage in the recovery process

Reunification:  Facilitate timely family reunification when appropriate

Self-Sufficiency:  Promote participant independency and resiliency

Positive Foundations:  Aid participants in developing and maintain pro-social relationships

Community Awareness and Involvement:  Engage the community in the recovery process through education and awareness of substance use/addiction


In order to successfully complete FRC, participants must:

  • Have their children returned and living in the home
  • Complete of all ordered and/or recommended services
  • Establish support systems
  • Obtain employment and/or sufficient financial support
  • Arrange safe, stable housing
  • Complete a Relapse Prevention Plan
  • Complete a Family Financial Plan
  • Complete a Graduation Application