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The Colorado Family Drug Court System Reform Project

Award Information

Award #
Congressional District
Funding First Awarded
Total funding (to date)

Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2014, $346,009)

OJJDP is seeking to infuse effective family drug court practices established at the local level and institutionalize them in the larger state-level child welfare, substance abuse treatment, and court systems. The purpose of this state systems reform effort is to expand the scale of family drug courts (i.e., penetration rate of the larger child welfare and substance abuse treatment systems) and scope (i.e., range of comprehensive services for families) to serve all families in the child welfare system affected by parental substance use disorders more effectively and improve child, parent, and family outcomes.

The Colorado Family Drug Court System Reform project will rely on partnerships with the Colorado State Court Administrators Office (SCAO), the Colorado Department of Human Services Division of Child Welfare (DCW), the Colorado Department of Human Services Division of Child Welfare (DCW), and the Office of Behavioral Health (OBH). This project will promote a shared vision to have child welfare agencies addressing recovery issues for youth and families, treatment providers addressing family reunification, and the courts addressing outcomes for youth and families.

This two year planning grant will facilitate the infusion of the six elements of family treatment drug courts. The six key elements of family treatment drug courts: 1) implementing a system for identifying families; 2) earlier access to assessment and treatment; 3) increased judicial oversight; 4) increased management of recovery services and compliance; 5) appropriate responses to participant behaviors (sanctions and incentives); and 6) collaborative approaches across service systems and the court. The grant will also provide Colorado the opportunity to update the statewide substance abuse protocol that was developed in 2004.


OJJDP's Juvenile Justice System Improvement Grants program was established to provide grants and cooperative agreements to organizations that provide programs and services critical to the mission of OJJDP, and organizations that OJJDP has selected for funds in prior years. This program will be authorized by an Act appropriating funds for the Department of Justice.

Colorado’s Statewide System Reform Program, known as the Dependency and Neglect System Reform Program (DANSR), relies on the partnership of Colorado’s Judicial Department and the Colorado Department of Human Services – in particular, the CDHS Offices of Children, Youth and Families and Behavioral Health. The three-year planning award will facilitate the infusion/integration of six effective best practices from family drug courts into all dependency and neglect cases statewide. The six practices are: 1) develop a protocol for identifying families in need of treatment; 2) ensure early access to assessment and treatment; 3) offer a continuum of evidence-based alcohol, drug, and mental health services; 4) increase the quality and/or frequency of judicial oversight; 5) encourage institutional data-sharing to measure goals and gauge effectiveness; and 6) cross-systems teams coordinate strategy at the case-level and participate in collaborative training. The award will also provide the opportunity to update Colorado’s substance abuse protocol that was collaboratively developed in 2004. Not only will this opportunity help Colorado develop an updated protocol for dealing with substance abuse in the child welfare system, it will allow for the development of an implementation plan for integrating key family drug court practices into the broader child welfare system to increase the state's ability to keep children safe and help families impacted by substance abuse.


Date Created: September 16, 2014