The Yurok Tribal Court is partnering with the Superior Court of Humboldt County to create a new Family Wellness Court to help parents struggling to care for their children as a result of substance abuse.
The Family Wellness Court will be a dual jurisdictional court that will focus on helping families break the cycle of addiction, which is the root cause of many local child abuse and neglect cases, according to a Yurok Tribal press release.
Humboldt County Superior Court Judge Joyce D. Hinrichs and Yurok Chief Justice Abby Abinanti have worked since October 2017 to create the court with input from more than 50 stakeholders, according to the release. The two judges will preside over cases, convene frequent family wellness team meetings and connect families to tribal and non-tribal services.
Created in response to the Humboldt County opioid epidemic, Hinrichs and Abinanti will work together to identify solutions that best fit each specific family. The Family Wellness Court was established through an innovation grant from the California Judicial Council and will include options for extending the approach to all tribes in the region.
The Yurok Tribe and the Northern California Tribal Courts Coalition have also applied to receive training and technical assistance from the Quality Improvement Center for Research-Based Infant-Toddler Court Teams to extend the collaborative approach to Del Norte County and to adapt it for the Hoopa and Karuk tribes, according to the press release.