In the News: Allen County’s Family Domestic Violence Court
Fort Wayne Journal Gazette: “New family domestic violence court comes with hope to end cycle of abuse”
Greater Fort Wayne Business Weekly: “Allen County’s Superior Court begins Family Domestic Violence Court”
Allen Superior Court’s Family Relations Division has launched a problem-solving court designed to provide support, recovery and services to survivors and perpetrators of domestic violence and their families.
Family Domestic Violence Court began accepting families into the program in March 2023. The Indiana Supreme Court awarded the program with provisional certification on Feb. 23, 2023.
Family Domestic Violence Court serves parents, guardians, custodians and children when an act of domestic violence is a contributing reason why those families have entered the CHINS system. Allegations can include domestic violence between the mother and father, or from a parent to a child.
A CHINS case is filed by the Department of Child Services (DCS). A family can be referred into Domestic Violence Court during the initial hearing in the CHINS case, by legal counsel, a DCS case manager, the child’s GAL/CASA or the Court. The program is voluntary, so participants must also be willing to take part. While the parties are participating in the Family Domestic Violence Court, a CHINS case will not proceed to termination of parental rights.
To participate in Family Domestic Violence Court, a participant must acknowledge current or past domestic violence or mental health needs and not be a current participant in another problem-solving court. The Family Domestic Violence Court’s supervising Judge, Judge Lori K. Morgan, must also approve their involvement in the program.
Throughout the program, which can last between eight and 24 months, participants benefit from a variety of therapeutic support resources to deal with domestic violence, substance abuse and mental health issues. In addition, families receive help with other potential contributing factors, including those relating to housing, employment, education and lack of a positive support system.
Allen Superior Court’s Family Domestic Violence Court joins more than 200 other domestic violence courts across the nation. It is the eighth problem-solving court in Allen County.
Partners in the Family Domestic Violence Court include the Department of Child Services, Allen County Office of GAL/CASA, Allen County Public Defender’s Office, Allen County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office, Amani Family Services, Boys and Girls Club of Fort Wayne, Bowen Center, Center for Non-Violence, Indiana Coalition Against Domestic Violence, Phoenix Associates, Quality Counseling, SCAN, Women’s Fund, and YWCA.