MASON CITY, Iowa - Cerro Gordo County's Family Treatment Court has a lot to celebrate. On their fifth anniversary, they are celebrating the successes of the nearly 70 families who have kicked addiction and worked hard to get their kids back.
Judge Adam Sauer oversees the program. He says without Family Treatment Court, it would be very difficult for parents to get their children back if they have an addiction problem.
The process starts when Iowa's Department of Human Services issues a 'child in need of assistance' petition in a situation where a parent who is addicted to drugs or alcohol can't properly care for their child. The court consists of a four step treatment program involving treatment and counseling. Usually it takes 10-12 months for a person to graduate. Local agencies like Prairie Ridge and Lutheran Services are involved in getting these parents to sobriety.
Brittany Hanson was addicted to meth and opioids and enrolled in the program after her child was taken away by the state. She says it was hard getting through the program at first, but then she realized that DHS and the court were on her side, trying to keep the family together. She has graduated from the program and now she works as a peer recovery coach, helping other people who are going through the program.