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Family Treatment Drug Courts

A number of communities are developing Family Treatment Drug Courts (FTDCs), alternatively known as Dependency Drug Courts. FTDCs are an increasingly popular method of (a) meeting the requirements of ASFA and (b) enhancing functional status and reunification success among families involved in child welfare and affected by substance use disorders.

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Service Administration (SAMHSA), in collaboration with the Office of Juvenile Justice Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP), hosted a National Symposium for Family Drug Court (FDC) professionals. The purpose of the symposium was to engage a wide range of FDC professionals in discussion of FDC practices, research and policy. Please click here for workshop and plenary presentation materials.

Training and Technical Assistance for FTDCs

Slide of a Family Drug Court Program Introductory Webinar The Center for Children and Family Futures, Inc. provides Training and Technical Assistance (TTA) for FTDCs nationally, through the Bureau of Justice Assistance, Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP). Please take a moment to view the Family Drug Court Program Introductory Webinar for more information.

FTDC TTA involves web-based and onsite technical assistance in four key areas: cross-system collaboration; policies and procedures; staff training and development; and evaluation and sustainability. Launched in 2010, the Learning Academy consists of three learning stages or “learning communities”. Each learning community offers a series of webinars designated to meet the needs of FDTC’s at each stage:

FTDCs Publications and Resources

Cover page of a guidebook Family Treatment Drug Court Evaluation Final Report (PDF 1.25 MB)
Presents the findings of a national evaluation of Family Treatment Drug Courts (FTDCs), conducted by NPC Research. The evaluation examined whether court, child welfare, and treatment outcomes differed for families served through FTDCs as compared to families who received traditional child welfare services.

Dependency Drug Court/STARS (Specialized Treatment And Recovery Services) Program Facts and Information
Provides an overview of the Sacramento County Dependency Drug Court and STARS (Specialized Treatment And Recovery Services) Program.

PDF Viewer Icon The Sacramento Dependency Drug Court: Development and Outcomes (PDF 140 KB)
Boles, S., Young, N., Moore, T., & DiPirro-Beard, S. Child Maltreatment 2007; 12; 161
Article that provides a description of various types of DDCs (Dependency Drug Court) and reports 24-month reunification rates from the Sacramento DDC. Results indicated that Dependency Drug Court participants had higher rates of treatment participation than did comparison participants. In addition, at 24 months, 42% of the DDC children had reunified versus 27.2% of the comparison children.

Sacramento County Dependency Drug Court: The First Four Years
Evaluation study that determines the impact to parental involvement and engagement in treatment and child placement outcomes associated with outcomes of participation in the Sacramento Dependency Drug Court.

Cover page of a guidebook Guidance to States: Recommendations for Developing Family Drug Court Guidelines (PDF 2.4 MB)
Young, N.K., Breitenbucher, P., & Pfeifer, J., 2013
This publication provides information on best practices and collaborative principles to develop and sustain Family Drug Courts. The Guidelines will assist policy makers and practitioners to enhance and expand these programs across the country.

Cover page of a guidebook Court-Based Interventions for Pos-Tox and Drug Exposed Infants and Toddlers (PDF 302 KB)
Judge Erica Yew
November 2011

Cover page of a guidebook An Overview of Operational Family Dependency Treatment Courts (PDF 1.02 MB)
Judge Nicolette M. Pach (ret.)
Drug Court Review, Volume VI, Issue 1, Summer 2008
Establishes an agenda for a national conversation about family dependency treatment court best practices and circumstantial permutations.

Cover page of a guidebook Ensuring Sustainability for Drug Courts: An Overview of Funding Strategies (PDF 1.04 MB)
Reilly & Pierre-Lawson
National Drug Court Institute, Monograph Series 8, April 2008
Assist courts in creating a sustainability plan that moves past initial implementation into long-term viability.

Cover page of a guidebook Family Dependency Treatment Court Fact Sheet (PDF 2.82 MB)
National Drug Court Institute, June 2006
Brief overview of the Drug Court Model in child maltreatment cases


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