U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government, Department of Justice.

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.

OJJDP also 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.

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.

Contact

Kathryn Barry
Grants Management Specialist
[email protected]
202–353–5697

Resources

Date Created: May 25, 2021