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Family Drug Court Program

Description

Overview

Family Drug Courts (FDCs) serve children, parents and families involved in the child welfare system due to parental substance use as a contributing factor to child abuse or neglect.

Between 60 and 80 percent of substantiated child abuse and neglect cases handled by these courts involve substance abuse by a custodial parent or guardian.  

The purpose of a FDC is to protect child safety, ensure a permanent care-giving environment and promote children's well-being through family recovery. Each year, FDCs assist approximately 30,000 children across the country.

FDCs provide intensive judicial monitoring and equal access to family-focused interventions, services and supports using a multidisciplinary approach to meet the comprehensive needs of these families.

These courts operate collaboratively, drawing on community partners' expertise in child welfare, substance use disorder treatment and other community services to address the needs and build on the strengths of each family member.

As of 2019, an estimated 500 FDCs operate in 48 states, the District of Columbia, and the territories of Puerto Rico and Guam. 

Funding

Under the OJJDP FY 2020 Family Drug Court Program, OJJDP awarded four cooperative agreements, totaling $7 million to support New York, Washington, Oregon, and New Hampshire to:

  • strengthen cross-systems collaboration;
  • integrate FDC best practices into the larger state or county child welfare, substance use disorder treatment, and court systems;
  • and to increase the scale and scope of services provided by FDCs across the state or county. 

Programs

Family Drug Court State and County Expansion Program: In FY 2020, OJJDP awarded four cooperative agreements, totaling $7 million to support New York, Washington, Oregon, and New Hampshire to:

  • strengthen cross-systems collaboration;
  • integrate FDC best practices into the larger state or county child welfare, substance use disorder treatment, and court systems;
  • and to increase the scale and scope of services provided by FDCs across the state or county.

Establishing New and Enhancing Existing Family Drug Courts Program: In FY 2020, OJJDP awarded 17 grants, totaling $12,489,172, to build the capacity of states, state and local courts, units of local government, and federally recognized tribal governments to either implement new FDCs or enhance pre-existing FDCs.

Training and Technical Assistance

In FY 2019, OJJDP awarded $4.5 million to the Center for Children and Family Futures (CCFF) to provide training and technical assistance to support the goals of the National Strategic Plan for Family Drug Courts, to strengthen cross-system collaboration, and improve FDC practices and policies.

CCFF provides consulting, strategic planning, and evaluation services for substance use disorder treatment, child welfare, and courts.

National Strategic Plan for Family Drug Courts: This plan outlines a coordinated national strategy to enhance and expand the use of FDCs to reach more children and families.

The plan lays out key goals, strategies, and activities to improve the health of existing family drug courts, engage state supporters for FDC expansion, and ensure that all FDC stakeholders have the latest information about best practices.

Family Treatment Court Best Practice Standards: The eight standards provide guidance to communities, states, tribes, and funders for improving outcomes for children, parents, and families affected by substance use and co-occurring disorders who are involved in the child welfare system.

Released in 2019 by the CCFF and the National Association of Drug Court Professionals, these best practices reflect the shift toward person-centered, strength-based, family-focused, and action-oriented practices.

Peer Learning Court Awards: CCFF hosts the National Family Treatment Court Training and Technical Assistance Peer Learning Court (PLC) Program. After rigorous review, the program recently selected eight family treatment courts as mentor courts in the PLC Program. 

Professional Development

The National Association of Drug Court Professionals hosted its annual national conference for treatment court professionals to share innovative practice and policy improvements in August 2021. 

Family Treatment Court Practice Academy (FDC TTA): The FDC TTA program hosts the Family Treatment Court (FTC) Learning Academy, bringing together relevant research, information, and practice examples to respond to emergent issues in the field.

The FTC Learning Academy is shifting to the FTC Practice Academy to emphasize that improving outcomes for families requires a change in practice. Visit the FTC Practice Academy webpage for more information.

From the Field

The Jefferson County Family Integrated Treatment (FIT) Court began operating in 2008 to serve parents and guardians who require treatment for a substance use disorder and who are involved with the child welfare system as a result of child abuse or neglect. The voluntary program offers families treatment to establish and maintain sobriety. It also helps participants develop the parenting and coping skills needed to serve as an effective parent on a day-to-day basis.

The court works with OJJDP's training and technical assistance provider, the Center for Children and Family Futures. They use a family-centered approach, which calls for addressing the needs of the children as well as the parents. Families typically spend 15–18 months in the program, although reunification between parents and their children can occur at any point. The FIT Court is a collaborative effort that seeks to empower families to look beyond compliance and abstinence, encouraging them to make a commitment to a lifestyle of recovery.

The 3-year, $861,290 grant from OJJDP in fiscal year 2018 is supporting several of the FIT Court's key initiatives for targeting the multiple dimensions of recovery. Read more details about the Jefferson County Family Integrated Treatment (FIT) Court program.

Contact

Geroma Void
Grants Management Specialist
[email protected]
202–598–9806

Resources

Date Created: May 25, 2021