Nebraska Supreme Court Approves the Adoption of the Family Treatment Court Best Practice Standards

Nebraska Supreme Court Approves the Adoption of the Family Treatment Court Best Practice Standards

Friday, May 15, 2020
Judge Heideman

The Nebraska Supreme Court Committee on Problem-Solving Courts recognized statewide standards were essential for expanding capacity and ensuring the establishment of best practices and quality assurance. The Nebraska Supreme Court Committee on Problem-Solving Courts established a Family Dependency Court Subcommittee to develop the programs and processes for implementing family dependency problem-solving courts in Nebraska. The subcommittee was further charged with the development of the best practice standards. Judge Roger J. Heideman was selected as the subcommittee chair.

The subcommittee began the task of identifying research and best practice policies from recognized experts in the field. At that time, no national best practice standards had been developed. The subcommittee received technical assistance from the Center for Children and Family Futures to begin standards development. Shortly after receiving assistance from the Center for Children and Family Futures, the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention awarded Grant #2016-DC-BX-K003 to the Center for Children and Family Futures and the National Association of Drug Court Professionals to develop and publish national best practice standards for family treatment courts. Judge Heideman was selected as a member of the national advisory group tasked with the creation of national standards. At that time, the decision was made to align the development of Nebraska state standards with the work of the Center for Children and Family Futures and the National Association of Drug Court Professionals, given Judge Heideman’s involvement at both levels. This plan allowed the subcommittee to actively participate in the drafting of the national standards as Judge Heideman was allowed to share the advisory council’s work-in-progress and share the Nebraska subcommittee’s comments and concerns to the advisory council.

According to the Family Treatment Court Best Practice Standards, the standards are designed to support stakeholders in their efforts to assess and improve the safety, permanency, and well-being of children; the comprehensive well-being of parents; and families' stability.

The national Family Treatment Court Best Practice Standards were reviewed by the Family Dependency Court Subcommittee. Following the approval of the Nebraska Supreme Court Committee on Problem-Solving Courts, the national Family Treatment Court Best Practice Standards were submitted to the Nebraska Supreme Court for its consideration to adopt the same as the standards for Nebraska courts.  On April 8, 2020, the Nebraska Supreme Court approved the adoption of the Family Treatment Court Best Practice Standards.

The Family Treatment Court Best Practice Standards can be found at https://supremecourt.nebraska.gov/sites/default/files/Programs/psc/2020-Family-Treatment-Court-Best-Practice-Standards.pdf