Felicia Patrick's life was quickly slipping away.

The Noble County woman was using drugs – “pretty much anything,” but mostly meth. It was 2009, she'd just had a daughter, and another baby, a boy, was on the way.

The Indiana Department of Child Services took custody of her son before she could leave the hospital with him.

“That's how bad it was,” Patrick, 30, said last week. “I knew then, I'm either going to die, I'm going to go to jail or I'm going to lose everything.”

Patrick is among thousands in Indiana who have transitioned from unhealthy and dangerous situations with the help of specialized courts designed to steer families from bad behavior and toward stability. She credits her faith and Noble Superior Court's Family Preservation Court with providing her with therapy and the life skills necessary to stay sober and regain custody of her son.

Court leaders in Allen County hope they will soon have similar success stories to share.

Allen Superior Court launched its family-centered court – Family Recovery Court – on Feb. 14. Administrators say the program in which participants could spend more than a year is aimed at untangling a morass of problems parents face that can lead to breaking families apart.

Patrick later divorced, remarried and had another son. She has been sober since 2012.

“Once I realized that the people who were involved (with the court) were supportive and believed in me, it gave me confidence in myself,” she said. “I was so broken, so lost. I did not know how to lead a normal life.

“They gave me this treatment plan to teach me how. I would definitely say they gave me my life back.”

Family Recovery Court can help ensure families are kept intact through treatment, therapy, guidance, individual attention and encouragement, officials said.
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