Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2012, $522,028)
OJJDP's Family Drug Courts program builds the capacity of states, state and local courts, units of local government, and federally recognized Indian tribal governments to either implement new drug courts or enhance pre-existing drug courts for individuals with substance abuse disorders or substance use and co-occurring mental health disorders, including histories of trauma, who are involved with the family dependency court as a result of child abuse, neglect, and other parenting issues. Applicants must provide services to the children of the parents in the program as well as to the parents. This program provides seed money, not long-term support. OJJDP expects successful applicants to develop and implement a sustainability plan during the grant period to continue operation of the family drug court when the grant ends. This program is authorized by 42 U.S.C. 3797u, et seq.
The Denver Juvenile and Family Justice Treatment Accountability for Safer Communities (DJFJ TASC) proposes the Safe Families project to enhance the existing family drug court with a stand-alone docket that will ensure developmentally specific access to parenting and life skills, along with substance abuse and mental health services, for adolescent parents. The project will use the evidence-based Celebrating Families and Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) interventions to serve 20 families per year in which a respondent teen parent is under the age of 18, with substance abuse issues and an active dependency and neglect case. The project will serve 20 clients per year between the ages of 13 - 17 and their families. The goals of the Safe Families project are to: 1) provide access to trauma-informed treatment and recovery services for teen parents through the family drug court model; 2) increase the level of safety and permanency for children; and 3) reduce substance use. Progress will be measured by program completion rates, decreased substance abuse, reduced court involvement, and increased family reunification and functioning. The purpose of this comprehensive strategy is to use the critical family drug court components coupled with developmentally appropriate responses for teen parents and their families who have been traditionally ineligible for the family and/or juvenile drug court model(s).