Assessing the Context of Permanency and Reunification in the Foster Care System: Mothers Making a Change Program . 2.4 Relationship with Juvenile Court


The court takes a very active role in determining the length and scope of services a MMAC client will receive. In addition, it can also order certain conditions of treatment, such as leaving a residential facility for visits or walks. MMAC may appear in court but always on behalf of the parent. If a parent (former client) has relapsed or not succeeded in her program, state and federal confidentiality laws pertaining to mental health services required for drug treatment restrict staff's ability to testify on grounds for TPR. In TPR cases, MMAC will comply with a subpoena, and the director will appear with a copy of the case record, but staff will not testify in court against a client. MMAC ensures that appropriate releases are signed that meet federal confidentiality law requirements.

Judges from both the Douglas and Cobb counties Juvenile Courts had great praise for MMAC staff and services. One judge reported that the MMAC program works because it is comprehensive. It addresses substance abuse problems, job readiness skills, GED, employability, parenting skills, and housing needs. It allows mothers to live where they are not dependent on someone who has the ability and probability of using and abusing the children. The judge uses the MMAC program frequently and felt that MMAC had a much higher success rate than other drug treatment programs, because other programs are not adequate to handle this population, specifically lacking services for women and their families.(10)

MMAC fills the important gaps for treatment, especially transportation, which is important in a rural county.

The Cobb County judge reported that he used MMAC because it was affordable and easily accessible to families. He also mentioned that he frequently uses MMAC staff for assessment of substance abuse.