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Expanding the Scope and Scale of Family Treatment Court Processes in New York State

Award Information

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

Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2014, $501,652)

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 New York State Unified Court System - Office of Court Administration (OCA) will conduct a planning and initial implementation program to reform Family Treatment Court practices to increase the number of families in court for reasons of child abuse or neglect who can be effectively engaged in chemical dependency services to support adult recovery while simultaneously achieving child permanency, safety and well-being. The Child Welfare Court Improvement Project (CWCIP), a unit of the OCA, will act as lead coordinating entity. Other key partners include the OCA Office of Policy and Planning, the NYS Office of Children and Family Services; and Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services and the non-profit Center for Court Innovation.

A plan to implement new practices, procedures and protocols will be developed and implemented in selected pilot counties. Integrating family treatment court practices into the routine processing of child welfare matters, rather than establishing specialized courts will allow an expansion of services while minimizing the need for additional staff resources. This practical approach will encourage additional courts to embrace family treatment court practices and allow jurisdictions whose pre-existing family treatment courts ceased operation due to fiscal constraints or other programmatic barriers to explore opportunities to reopen.


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.

The purpose of the New York State Unified Court System project is to reform the way family drug courts handle child welfare matters when the families involved are affected by substance use disorder. This additional funding will be used to strengthen the existing planning process and move to the introduction of protocols and strategies designed to effectuate eventual statewide reform.

The New York Statewide System Reform Program, Better for Families, has two overarching goals that guide every aspect of the project. First, the current resources allocated to family treatment courts (FTCs) should be used to capacity and strengthened. Second, all families affected by substance use disorder who are in court due to a child welfare matter should also receive some of the best practices of the FTC model.


Date Created: September 16, 2014