Second chances: Denton County Family Drug Court celebrates first graduate

Amber Climer didn’t think she would ever see her 2-year-old son after Dec. 6, 2016.  She and her boyfriend had picked up methamphetamine with her then 1-year-old child in the car. The man later fell asleep at a stoplight as a Denton police investigator, who had been watching them, approached the vehicle.   The couple were eventually charged with possession of a controlled substance, and Child Protective Services removed the child from the home.  “We were both in the depths of our addiction,” Climer said.  A year and three months later, Climer wiped tears from her face as the first graduate of the Denton County Family Drug Court, which aims to help parents who are suffering from addiction. Her drug charge from December 2016, which had been elevated because of two previous drug charges, will be dismissed. And more importantly, she’s been reunited with her son.  “I’m looking forward to just being able to, for the rest of my life and his life, be his mom and be present,” she said.   The nearly year-old drug court aims to help parents whose children have been removed from the household related to a heavy substance use issue. Currently, 15 mothers participate in the program and meet every two weeks in Judge Tiffany Haertling’s 442nd Judicial District Court.   Funded mostly by drug seizure funds from the Denton County Sheriff’s Office, the court offers classes on parenting, finding stable housing and budgeting. Participants are subject to three to four drug tests a week in the first part of the program and random drug tests in the latter stages. Participants also enroll in other local treatment facilities and work 12-step recovery programs.  The court treatment team, which consists of attorneys, recovery experts and social service providers, also helps find stable housing for the parents.   The goal is to stop the cycle of addiction that ultimately becomes a generational problem, Haertling said. Second chances: Denton County Family Drug Court celebrates first graduate

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