This webpage identifies the major literature in the field of family court and criminal justice involvement: family court. The time frame is from January 2000 through December 2014.
Boles, S. M., Young, N. K., Moore, T., & DiPirro-Beard, S. (2007). The Sacramento dependency drug court: Development and outcomes. Child Maltreat 12(2), pp. 161-171.
Dependency Drug Courts (DDCs) are a growing method of addressing the functional status and reunification success of families involved in child welfare and affected by substance use disorders. Despite widespread interest in DDCs, few evaluations have appeared in the literature to help inform the discussion about their effectiveness. This article provides a description of various types of DDCs and reports 24-month reunification rates from the Sacramento DDC. Results indicated that DDC 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. There were no differences in treatment completion or child reunification rates by parent's primary drug problem. Rates of recidivism were extremely low for both the DDC and comparison groups and did not differ significantly. Based on the results of this study, the authors suggest the need for further evaluation of the effectiveness of DDCs.
Bruns, E. J., Pullman, M. D., Weathers, E. S., Wirschem, M. L., & Murphy, J. K. (2012). Effects of a multidisciplinary family treatment drug court on child and family outcomes: results of a quasi-experimental study. Child Maltreatment, 17(3), pp. 218-230.
Family treatment drug courts (FTDCs) are an increasingly common approach for serving families involved in child welfare due to parental substance abuse; however, the evidence base for FTDCs remains emergent. This article compares parental substance abuse treatment and child welfare outcomes for 76 FTDC participants to outcomes for 76 non-FDC involved parents. Results reflect that parents involved with FDTCs had more review and motion hearings, were more likely to enter treatment faster, remain in treatment longer, and more likely to complete treatment than non-FDTC involved parents. The children of FDTC involved parents spent less time in out-of-home care, were likely to return to parental care and likely to be discharged from child welfare. Overall, results from this study are concurrent with other FDTC literature reflecting positive outcomes for both parents and children involved with FDTCs.
Burrus, S. W., Mackin, J. R., & Finigan, M. W. (2011). Show me the money: Child welfare cost savings of a Family Drug Court. Juvenile and Family Court Journal, 62(3), pp. 1-14. DOI: 10.1111/j.1755-6988.2011.01062.x
This article summarizes the results of outcomes and selected costs of a system-wide reform located in Baltimore, Maryland. Results from this study found that parents served by the program, entered treatment faster, stayed in treatment longer, and completed treatment more often than those not served by the program. Children in program families spent less time in foster care and were more likely to be reunified with their biological parents. These outcomes resulted in cost savings, including reduced foster care expenditures.
California Supreme Court bars jailing parents for treatment non-compliance. (2009). Alcoholism & Drug Abuse Weekly, 21(14), 3-3.
The article discusses a court case wherein a parent cannot be put to prison for not complying with substance abuse treatments. A ruling from the California Supreme Court allows parents to regain custody of their children without attending ordered treatments. According to Judge Carol Corrigan, parents cannot be forced by the court in participating in such treatments. Prior to the ruling was a woman's release after the termination of her parental rights when her child was positive for methamphetamine.
Cannavo, J. M., & Nochajski, T. H. (2011). Factors contributing to enrollment in a family treatment court. The American Journal of Drug and Alcohol Abuse, 37(1), pp. 54-61. DOI: 10.3109/00952990.2010.535579
This article presents the findings from a study which evaluated FTC enrollment to identify predictors that may aid in the development of interventions to decrease refusal rates. The results for the study point out the need for possible specialized treatments and a need to consider how motivational elements may be addressed during the intake assessment to aid in decreasing refusal rates. Additionally, the results point toward a need for consideration of family system approaches when working with FTC participants as well as the need for further work with motivational elements and drug court participants.
Carey, S. M., Sanders, M. B., Waller, M. S., Burrus, S. W. M, & Aborn, J.A. (2010). Marion County fostering attachment treatment court process outcomes and cost evaluation, Final report. Oregon Criminal Justice Commission.
This summary contains process, outcome and cost evaluation results for the Marion County Fostering Attachment Family Treatment Court (FATC). The evaluation of this FATC was funded under the Edward Byrne Memorial State and Local Law Enforcement Assistance Grant Program: Byrne Methamphetamine Reduction Grant Project 07-001.
Carey, S. M., Sanders, M. B., Waller, M. S., Burrus, S. W. M, & Aborn, J. A. (2010). Jackson County fostering attachment treatment court process outcomes and cost evaluation, Final report. Oregon Criminal Justice Commission.
This summary contains process, outcome and cost evaluation results for the Jackson County Community Family Court (CFC). The evaluation of this project was funded under the Edward Byrne Memorial State and Local Law Enforcement Assistance Grant Program: Byrne Methamphetamine Reduction Grant Project 07-001.
Center for Substance Abuse Treatment. (2011). Introduction to cross-system data resources in child welfare, alcohol and other drug services, and courts. HHS Publication No. (SMA) 11-4630. Rockville, MD: Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.
This guide was developed for use by management and administrative officials at the State, county, and tribal level who wish to develop cross-system relationships in child welfare, alcohol, and other drug services, and court systems. The guide presents detailed information on five child welfare data-reporting systems, three other child welfare data systems, five alcohol and other drugs system data, two court system information sources, two tribal child welfare data systems, and one tribal health system data source. The child welfare data-reporting systems are the Statewide Automated Child Welfare Information System, the Adoption and Foster Care Analysis and Reporting System, the National Child Abuse and Neglect Data System, the National Youth in Transition Database, and the Child and Family Services Review. Other data systems discussed include the Longitudinal Studies of Child Abuse and Neglect, the Center for State Foster Care and Adoption Data, the National Data Analysis System, the Treatment Episode Data Set, the National Survey of Substance Abuse and Treatment Services, the Inventory of Substance Abuse Treatment Services, the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, and the National Outcome Measures for Co-Occurring Disorders. Additional systems include the National Consortium on State Court Automation Functional Standards, Dependency Court Performance Measures, child welfare data from the Bureau of Indian Affairs and the HIS Resource and Patient Management System, and tribal health system data from the Resource and Patient Management System.
Choi, S. (2012). Family drug courts in child welfare. Child Adolescent Social Work Journal, 29(1), pp. 447–461. DOI: 10.1007/s10560-012-0272-2
The purpose of this paper is (1) to review the policy and theory behind family drug courts, (2) to review empirical evidence of family drug courts, and (3) develop policy and intervention implication based on this review. Author identified three practice implications including the need for FDCs to develop strategies that motivate parents to engage and stay in treatment, remain drug free and function as parents. The second practice implication is the need for special attention to minority families in child welfare, especially substance using women. The third practice implication focuses on the need for inter-agency collaboration and integration of service delivery for families involved with the Child Welfare system. The author also identified four policy implications including the need to recognize the limited intervention capabilities of FDCs, the second implication is that public policy should recognize the complex set of factors that contribute to drug addiction. Third, FDCs should safeguard the rights of parents, and lastly the author emphasizes the need for systematic evaluation to determine impacts of FDCs on clients.
Chuang, E., Moore, K., Barrett, B., & Young, M. S. (2012). Effect of an integrated family dependency treatment court on child welfare reunification, time to permanency and re-entry rates. Children and Youth Services Review, 34(9), pp. 1896–1902. DOI: 10.1016/j.childyouth.2012.06.001
This study examined the effect of participation in an integrated FDTC (Hillsborough County FDTC) on family reunification, time to permanency, and re-entry into care. Findings of this study reflect that FDTC participation improves families' likelihood of reunification and decreased re-entry into care within 12 months of achieving permanency. However, FDTC participation also significantly increased time to permanency.
Crunkilton, D. D., & Robinson, M. M. (2008). Cracking the "black box": Journey mapping's tracking system in a drug court program evaluation. Journal of Social Work Practice in the Addictions, 8(4), pp. 511-529.
The researchers sought to address client perspectives on the Internet-based Journey Mapping evaluation tool in a drug court program. Ten clients, who used this tool for 3 months, participated in inter- views and responded to a short questionnaire. The qualitative data analysis was coded according to the constant comparative method. Clients reported that utilizing Journey Mapping initiated behavioral change, promoted cognitive change, tracked personal treatment progress, and created a way for their program feedback to be considered by staff'. Analysis of client data suggested that Journey Mapping enhanced clients' treatment progress, and it not only uncovered program data, but also provided individual clients with their own tangible achievement data.
Dakof, G. A., Cohen, J. B., & Duarte, E. (2009). Increasing reunification for substance-abusing mothers and their children: Comparing two drug court interventions in Miami. Juvenile and Family Court Journal, 60(1), pp. 11-23.
This study provides a quasi-experimental test of 80 consecutive enrollments in the Miami-Dade (Florida) Dependency Drug Court in order to examine the impact of a family-based and gender speciﬁc intervention, Engaging Moms Program (EMP), on drug court graduation and family reuniﬁcation. We compared EMP with case management services (CMS). Results indicated that 72% of mothers in the EMP graduated from drug court, and 70% were reuniﬁed with their children. In contrast, 38% of mothers receiving CMS graduated from drug court, and 40% were reunited with their children. EMP, then, appears to be a promising family drug court intervention.
Dakof, G. A., Cohen, J. B., Henderson, C. E., Duarte, E., Boustani, M., Blackburn, A., Venzer, E., & Hawes, S. (2010). A randomized pilot study of the Engaging Moms Program for family drug court. Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment, 38(1), pp. 263-274. DOI: 10.1016/j.jsat.2010.01.002.
This study looked at the effectiveness of the Engaging Moms Program (EMP) versus Intensive Case Management Services (ICMS) on multiple outcomes for mothers enrolled in family drug court. In this intent-to-treat study, mothers (N = 62) were randomly assigned to either usual drug court care or the Engaging Moms drug court program. Mothers were assessed at intake and 3, 6, 12, and 18 months following intake. Results indicated that at 18 months post drug court enrollment, 77% of mothers assigned to EMP versus 55% of mothers assigned to ICMS had positive child welfare dispositions. There were statistically significant time effects for both intervention groups on multiple outcomes including substance use, mental health, parenting practices, and family functioning. EMP showed equal or better improvement than ICMS on all outcomes. The results suggest that EMP in family drug court is a viable and promising intervention approach to reduce maternal addiction and child maltreatment.
Dice, J. L., Claussen, A. H., Katz, L. F., & Cohen, J. B. (2004). Parenting in dependency drug court. Juvenile and Family Court Journal, 55(3), pp. 1-10.
This article discusses the underlying approach and philosophy of the Miami-Dade Dependency Drug Court (DDC), which addresses the needs of families affected by substance abuse through a comprehensive and therapeutic approach. The DDC works with community agencies to provide services that effectively treat the family as a unit. The DDC provides a model approach to addressing risk factors associated with substance abuse in families and a model approach to collaboration with community stakeholders. This article discusses the process of adapting a parenting program to meet the needs of families in the DDC.
Drabble, L. A., Jones, S., & Brown, V. (2013). Advancing trauma-informed systems change in family drug treatment court context. Journal of Social Work Practice in Addictions, 13(1), pp. 91-113. DOI: 10.1080/1533256X.2012.756341
This article presents the findings of a qualitative study aimed at exploring the barriers, benefits, and facilitating factors associated with a trauma-informed systems assessment and improvement initiative conducted in the context of a family drug treatment court (FDTC). The study included semi-structured in-depth interviews with 12 key informants and historical analyses of project documents over a 4-year time span. Results underscore the relevance of trauma-informed systems change in collaborative contexts designed to address the complex needs of children and families.
Edwards, L. (2010). Sanctions in family drug treatment courts. Juvenile and Family Drug Treatment Court Journal, 61(1), pp. 55-62.
This article attempts to clarify some of the questions asked by Family Drug Treatment Courts (FDTC), regarding sanctions and rewards. It addresses questions such as, “What are permissible sanctions in an FDTC? After In re Nolan W., are ﬁnes or community service permissible? What about a reduction in visitation? What guidance has the California Supreme Court given trial courts in these areas?” The article concludes that sanctions be guided solely by treatment considerations, and that imprisonment is an unnecessary sanction in FDTCs.
Edwards, L. P., & Ray, J. A. (2005). Judicial perspectives on family drug treatment courts. Juvenile and Family Court Journal, 56(3), pp. 1-27.
Family Drug Treatment Courts are a specialized calendar or docket that operates within the juvenile dependency court. These courts provide the setting for a collaborative effort by the court and all the participants in the child protection system to come together in a non-adversarial setting to determine the individual treatment needs of substance-abusing parents whose children are under the jurisdiction of the dependency court. This article is intended to give judges and others a judicial perspective on FDTCs, and to offer some assistance for those who are operating or who are considering creating one.
Edwards, L. (2013). Ethical Issues in the Family Drug Treatment Court. Juvenile & Family Court Journal, 64(1), pp. 1-21.
This article will discusses the nature of FDTCs and their interaction with Juvenile dependency court. Additionally, the author addresses ethical and legal issues which judges working in FDTCs may encounter in their decision-making process. Author makes suggestions and recommendations for judges when faced with ethical and legal dilemmas in order to continue to provide an environment for increased parental rehabilitation.
Family court and outpatient treatment hoped to lead to more reunification. (2008). Alcoholism & Drug Abuse Weekly, 20(20), pp. 1-6.
The article reports on the joint effort of the Department of Human Resources (DHS) and the Oklahoma Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services (ODMHSAS) to improve parent reunification in the state. The two agencies believe that the problems in the state's foster care system can be resolved by expanding the family court program, which aims to reunify parents who are substance-dependent. They funded the assessment and treatment for these parents.
Falconer, M. K., Lederman, C. S., Pecora, P. J., Thompson, C. K., & DiLorenzo, P. (2012). Family-centered practice in Florida: Family court actions and perceptions. Juvenile and Family Court Journal, 63(3), pp. 1-19.
Family and dependency courts can become valuable partners in efforts to stem the tide of child maltreatment using a family-centered strategy. Florida’s response to a 2008 federal Child and Family Services Review included a commitment to implement family-centered practice in child protection services and the courts that hear these cases. A 2010 and 2011 formative evaluation documents evidence of the implementation of family-centered practice in CPS and courts that hear these cases. Interviews with dependency judges, Children’s Legal Services attorneys, and Guardian ad Litem volunteers provide useful insights on the perception and implementation of said practices.
Gifford, E. J., Eldred, L. M., Vernerey, A., & Sloan, F. A. (2014). How does family drug treatment court participation affect child welfare outcomes? Child Abuse & Neglect, 38(10), pp. 1659-1670.
This article examines the effectiveness of FDTCs in North Carolina child welfare outcomes. The study looks at parental participation including referral, enrollment, and completion of FDTC. Results of the study reflect that children of parents referred to FDTCs but not enrolled, or enrolled but did not complete the program had longer stays in foster care than children of parents who completed FDTC program. The reunification rates of children were higher for those with parents who completed the program.
Green, B. L., Furrer, C. J., Worcel, S. D., Burrus, S. W., & Finigan, M. W. (2009). Building the evidence base for family drug treatment courts: Results from recent outcomes studies. Drug Court Review, 6(2), pp. 53-82.
This paper reviews current FDTC research and summarizes the results from four outcome studies of FDTCs. Results suggest that FDTCs can be effective programs to improve treatment outcomes, increase the likelihood of family reunification, and reduce the time children spend in foster care. The authors advise that further research explore variations in program models, target populations, and the quality of treatment services influence effectiveness.
Green, B. L., Furrer, C., Worcel, S., Burrus, S., & Finigan, M. W. (2007). How effective are family treatment drug courts? Outcomes from a four-site national study. Child Maltreatment, 12(1), pp. 43-59.
This article presents the findings of a study which examined the effectiveness of the FTDC in improving treatment and child welfare outcomes for parents. Results show that FTDC parents, compared to comparison parents, entered substance abuse treatment more quickly, stayed in treatment longer, and completed more treatment episodes. Furthermore, children of FTDC parents entered permanent placements more quickly and were more likely to be reunified, with their parents, compared to children of non-FTDC participants. Finally, the FTDC program appears to have a "value added" in facilitating positive child welfare outcomes above and beyond the influence of positive treatment experiences. The authors note that one important aspect of the FTDC context important to its success is the increased information sharing between treatment, child welfare, the courts, and the regular contact between judges and participants. The study also suggests that FTDCs support parents struggling with treatment.
Harwin, J., Ryan, M., Tunnard, J., Alrough, B., Matias, C., Momenian-Schneider, S., & Pokhrel, S. (2011). The family drug & alcohol court (FDAC) evaluation project. Brunel University, FDAC Research Team: Final Report.
This report presents the findings from the evaluation of the first pilot Family Drug and Alcohol Court (FDAC) in Britain. The catalysts for the FDAC pilot were the encouraging evidence from the USA and concerns about the response to parental substance misuse through ordinary care proceedings in England: poor coordination of adult and children’s services; late interventions to protect children; delays in reaching decisions in court; and soaring costs of proceedings, linked to the cost of expert evidence.
He, A. S., Traube, D. E., & Young, N. K. (2014). Perceptions of parental substance use disorders in cross-system collaboration among child welfare, alcohol and other drugs, and dependency court organizations. Child Abuse & Neglect, 38(1), pp. 939-951.
This article presents the findings of a study which examined child welfare, treatment, and court staffs’ perceptions on issues related to parental substance use disorders. The objectives of the study were to a) compare differences and similarities in perceptions and values regarding CW-involved parents with SUDs among staff from CW, AOD and court organizations and b) explore possible explanations for why perceptions are different or similar among the organizations. Findings show that AOD respondents were less likely to believe parents could provide effective parenting, more likely to believe abstinence should be criterion for reunification and more likely to agree that parents should receive jail time as consequence for noncompliance, and more likely to believe that parents could succeed in treatment.
Holsapple, S., & Jensen, M. (2014). A model program for patient navigation: Using the justice system to offer a health care intervention to improve birth outcomes – understanding constrained choice and drug treatment court. Journal of Applied Social Science, 8(1), pp. 41.
The purpose of this article is to describe a unique and innovative program that uses an encounter with the justice system to offer a health care plan for a subset of people going through drug court. The intervention used is in the form of patient navigation to meet the needs of clients. The authors conclude that blending healthcare with the justice system provides advocacy, education, stability, and empowerment for this population and their children.
Houston, J. H. (2003). Drug courts: a study of retention and suspension in the Kalamazoo County drug court program. (Doctoral Dissertation). Retrieved from Digital Dissertation Consortium.
This dissertation presents the findings of a study which sought to determine what factors contributed to the success or failure of drug court participants. The study sought to determine which factors were perceived as coercive by participants, judges and administrators and how such perception might be related to variables such as age, race, gender, education, marital status, experience on the job and others.
Lesperance, T., Moore, K. A., Barrett, B., Young, S., Clark, C., & Ochshorn, E. (2011). Relationship between trauma and risky behavior in substance-abusing parents involved in a family dependency treatment court. Journal of Aggression, Maltreatment & Trauma, 20(2), pp. 163-174.
This exploratory study examined participants in a Family Dependency Treatment Court (FDTC), designed for substance-abusing parents whose children were removed from the home. This study increases understanding of the effect of substance abuse and trauma on high-risk behaviors and might help to improve services for substance-abusing parents involved in the child welfare system. Finally, the future success of reducing child abuse and neglect and parental substance use could hinge on the partnership between judicial and substance abuse treatment through FDTCs. Findings from this exploratory pilot study should be replicated with more representative and larger samples.
Lloyd, M. H., Johnson, T., & Brook, J. (2014). Illuminating the black box from within: stakeholder perspectives on family drug court best practices. Journal of Social Work Practice in Addictions, 14(4), pp. 378-401.
The purpose of this article is to report findings from a study designed to capture family drug court best practices using an innovative research tool from the perspective of FDC team members and clients. The study sought participant answers to the following questions: (1) what components of a family drug court program contribute to families achieving a successful outcome? (2) Do participants and team members consider certain components of a family drug court program more important than others? Findings suggest that clients value relationship building much more than FDC team members, along with the provision of structure and accountability.
Malbin, D. V. (2004). Fetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD) and the role of family court judges in improving outcomes for children and families. Juvenile and Family Court Journal, 55(2), pp. 53-63.
The purpose of this article is to support increased recognition and efficacy of services for people with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) in the legal system. According to the authors, the courts are in an important position to increase awareness of the problem by asking whether FASD is a factor in the case. This article includes: (1) an overview of FASD diagnostic criteria and current terminology; (2) exploration of FASD as a physical disability with behavioral symptoms; (3) a case example illustrating common patterns of behaviors in children and adults with FASD without identification and improved outcomes following identification and implementation of appropriate treatment; and (4) recommendations for family court judges. The courts are in an important position to increase awareness of this problem by encouraging advocates and professionals to learn more about FASD and to take it into account when making recommendations to the court.
Marsh, J. C., Smith, B. D., & Bruni, M. (2011). Integrated substance abuse and child welfare services for women: A progress review. Children and Youth Services Review, 33(3), pp. 466-472. DOI: 10.1016/j.childyouth.2010.06.017
A review of empirical literature reveals improvements in service utilization and outcomes for women when substance abuse and child welfare services are integrated. The increased use of substances by women involved in the child welfare system has resulted in a call for integrated, coordinated, evidence-based practices. Since the late 1990s, specific system- and service-level strategies have been developed that help coordinate and integrate the provision of substance abuse and child welfare services; such that women are remaining in treatment longer and are more likely to reduce substance use and be reunited with their children. The strategies reviewed provide useful guidelines for developing components of effective, evidence-based programs for substance-involved women in the child welfare system.
Meyer, A. S., McWey, L. M., McKendrick, W., & Henderson, T. L. (2010). Substance using parents, foster care, and termination of parental rights: The importance of risk factors for legal outcomes. Children and Youth Services Review, 32(5), pp. 639-649. DOI: 10.1016/j.childyouth.2009.12.011
Using a mixed methods strategy, the authors compared appellate court foster care cases where parents' rights were terminated to those in which decisions to terminate parental rights were reversed, to better understand the experiences of parents struggling with alcohol and drug use. A content analysis of 60 cases was conducted; 30 cases in which parental rights were terminated, and 30 where decisions to terminate parental rights were overturned or remanded to the lower court. Parents whose rights were terminated were more likely to have mental health problems and experienced incarceration. Review of composite score of risk factors reflected that for parents with rights terminated had significantly more risk factors. For both groups, poverty was an equally common risk factor. Implications include universal assessments for alcohol and drug abuse for parents involved in the child welfare system and timely referrals to appropriate treatment. Further, collaboration between mental health providers, substance use treatment programs, and caseworkers to address the integration of potential risk factors may help promote successful outcomes for parents whose children are in foster care.
Moreno, C. M., & Curti, G. H. (2012). Recovery spaces and therapeutic jurisprudence: a case study of the family treatment drug courts. Social & Cultural Geography, 13(2), pp. 161-183. DOI: 10.1080/14649365.2012.655768.
Working through feminist and post-structural understandings of law and different body–space relations of family treatment and recovery, in this paper we empirically investigate the nature and workings of therapeutic jurisprudence in drug treatment and child welfare management programs based in San Diego, California, and involved in the family treatment drug court (FTDC) system. What is at the forefront in this paper are different critical geographical conceptualizations of the double articulating productive and inhibiting forces inherent to the workings of FTDCs. Through the presentation of two family narratives of different familial, corporeal, spatial, and institutional encounters, movements, and transformations, we argue for alternative, attentive, and empowering understandings of family recovery.
Morse, D. S., Cerulli, C., Bedell, P., Wilson, J. L., Thomas, K., Mittal. M., Lamberti, J. S.…& Chin, N. (2014). Meeting health and psychological needs of women in drug treatment court. Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment, 46(2), pp. 150–157.
Authors explored healthcare-related experiences of women drug court participants using five focus groups with 8 women drug court participants, 8 court staff, and 9 community service providers. Themes emerged across the socio-ecological model that contained experiences either supporting or eroding women's motivation needs: 1) intrapersonal challenges participants termed an “evil cycle” of relapse, recidivism, trauma, and life challenges; 2) interpersonal context of parenting and stigma involving features of this “evil cycle”; 3) institutions with logistical barriers to legal and medical assistance; 4) community resources inadequate to support living and employment needs. Self-determination theory helps explain motivation required to address the women's healthcare needs and multiple demands at all levels of the socio-ecological model.
Oliveros, A., & Kaufman, J. (2011). Addressing substance abuse treatment needs of parents involved with the child welfare system. Child Welfare, 90(1), pp. 25-41.
The goal of this paper is to synthesize available data to help guide policy and programmatic initiatives for families with substance abuse problems who are involved with the child welfare system, and identify gaps in the research base preventing further refinement of practices in this area. To date, Family Treatment Drug Court and newly developed home-based substance abuse treatment interventions appear the most effective at improving substance abuse treatment initiation and completion in child welfare populations. Recommendations include future research include a comparison of the efficacy of these two approaches, and examine cost and child well-being indicators in addition to substance abuse treatment and child welfare outcomes.
Osofsky, J. D. (Ed.) (2011). Clinical Work with Traumatized Children. Cohen, J.B., Dakof, G.A., & Duarte, E. (Ch.13) Dependency drug court: An intensive intervention for traumatized mothers and young children. The Guilford Press: New York, NY.
Although research on DDC is limited, a small number of studies indicate that drug court has promise. Most DDCs share key elements, including a non-adversarial relationship among the participating partners, comprehensive assessment of service needs, frequent court hearings and drug testing, intensive judicial supervision, enrollment in substance abuse treatment programs designed to improve parenting practices and other necessary services, and the administration of judicial rewards and sanctions. In order to graduate from DDCs, participants must have successfully completed substance abuse treatment, remain compliant with mental health services, have a specified period of continuous abstinence, show evidence of a safe and stable living situation, spend a substantial period of time adequately performing the parental role, and have a life plan initiated and in place (e.g. employment, education, vocational training). DDCs frequently include drug court counselors, who refer clients to substance abuse treatment and other court-ordered services, develop a recovery service plan, and monitor and report clients’ ongoing progress to the court. Although there are numerous components to DDCs, the contributions of the drug court judge and counselors to the effectiveness of drug court are undeniable.
Powell, C., Stevens, S., Lo Dolce, B., Sinclair, K. O., & Swenson-Smith, C. (2012). Outcomes of a trauma-informed Arizona family drug court. Journal of Social Work Practice in the Addictions, 12(3), pp. 219-241. DOI: 10.1080/1533256X.2012.702624.
This study examines outcomes including AOD use, mental health, education and employment involvement, housing stability, and reunification of 121 FDC participants who completed baseline and 6-month post-baseline self-report assessments. At follow-up, AOD use remained low and mental health problems had decreased. Engagement in employment and education increased, as did housing stability. This study suggests that the Pima County FDC model might be effective for working with parents battling substance abuse.
Rittner, B., & Dozier, C. D. (2000). Effects of court-ordered substance abuse treatment in child protection cases. Social Work, 45(2), pp. 131-140.
This study examined the effects of court orders in preventing recurrence of substance abuse in the cases of 447 children in kinship care while under CPS supervision. Results suggested that court interventions had mixed outcomes. Levels of compliance with mandated substance abuse and mental health treatment did not appear to influence rates of re-abuse or duration of service. Court orders appeared to affect both the number of caretakers and placements the children experienced. Children adjudicated dependent were more likely to have multiple caretakers than those under voluntary supervision. Recommendations include further research look at compliance with court-ordered treatment and the decision-making processes regarding continued supervision for workers. In addition, the authors highlight the importance of adequate substance use and abuse screening in good case planning.
Somervell, A. M., Saylor, C., & Mao, C. (2005). Public health nurse interventions for women in a dependency drug court. Public Health Nursing, 22(1), pp. 59-64.
This article presents the findings of a study that identified the needs of women who graduated from dependency court and how they think a public health nurse (PHN) could help them in the process of reunifying with their children. In this article, the authors advocate that PHNs are in a position to assist these mothers build bridges across systems, and ensure the facilitation and access to services.
Sparks, S., Tisch, R., & Gardner, M. E. (2011). ¡Celebrando Familias! An innovative approach for Spanish speaking families at high risk for substance abuse disorders. Prevention Partners.
This article presents the findings of a study seeking to evaluate the ¡Celebrating Families! (CF!) Program in Spanish-speaking populations. A translated curriculum was culturally adapted and piloted at three different sites: Latino Community Development Center (LCDA) Oklahoma City, OK; EMQ-Families First (Dorsa Elementary School) San Jose, CA; and Mexican American Community Services Agency (MACSA) Collaborative in Gilroy, CA. Results were consistent with the findings of the English version, although instruments varied from the English instruments. ¡Celebrando Familias! evaluation instruments were under development at the time of the pilot. Adults reported significant satisfaction with the program. Results were consistent with the LutraGroup (2007) findings for English speakers with parents also indicating significant impact on family organization, cohesion, communication, conflict solving, strengths and resilience; positive parenting, parent involvement, improvement in parenting skills, and alcohol and drug use reduction.
Spartaro, R. M. (2011). Nipping it in the bud®: Adopting a family drug court approach to fighting the cycle of alcohol addiction for children when parents are convicted of DUI. Family Court Review, 49(1), pp. 190-206. DOI: 10.1111/j.1744-1617.2010.01361.x
Many states have implemented Drug Courts in recent years by combining drug and alcohol treatment with ongoing judicial supervision. Drug courts have proven effective in breaking the cycle of addiction, crime and repeat incarceration through the use incentives, including reduced and dismissed charges as well as fines and supervised treatment. However, these courts do little to address situations in which the addict is the custodial parent of a minor child, who is exponentially more at-risk for future alcohol addiction simply by being the child of an alcoholic, due to both environmental and biological factors. The authors argue that these courts should focus their attention on the needs of children as a preventive measure in the breaking of the cycle of intergenerational drug use. Therefore, this Note advocates for states to include an alcohol education and counseling program aimed at children of alcohol-related offenders based on the Drug Court Model. Participation in this program would then act as a mitigating factor for the addicted offender when receiving their final sentence. This proposed program would then serve as a model for other states to adopt in the near future.
Worcel, S., Furrer, C., Green, B. L., & Rhodes, B. (2006). Family treatment drug court evaluation final phase I study report. Portland, OR: NPC Research.
This report presents the final analysis of Phase I of the Family Treatment Drug Court (FTDC) Evaluation. The FTDC Evaluation, funded by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s Center for Substance Abuse Treatment, is a 4-year study conducted by NPC Research aimed at investigating the short- and long-term child welfare and treatment outcomes for families involved with these innovative programs. There are four study sites participating in this evaluation: San Diego County, CA; Santa Clara County, CA; Suffolk County, NY; and Washoe County, NV. The Phase I design collected archival administrative data on past participants in the FTDCs and similar comparison group cases, and included information about placement changes, types of placements, treatment services and outcomes, case lengths and resolutions, and demographic and background information about the families involved with the cases. Findings indicated that rapid entry into drug court and treatment services result in a number of positive outcomes, including more treatment completion, shorter times to permanent placement, and shorter case closure. In addition, parents who entered treatment faster, stayed in treatment longer, and completed treatment were more likely to graduate from drug court and were more likely to have faster time to permanent placement.
Worcel, S. D., Furrer, C. J., Green, B. L., Burrus, S. W. M., & Finigan, M. W. (2008). Effects of family treatment drug courts on substance abuse and child welfare outcomes. Child Abuse Review, 17(6), pp. 427-443.
This paper presents results from the first large-scale outcome study of American Family Treatment Drug Courts (FTDCs)—specialized courts designed to work with substance-abusing parents involved with the child welfare system. The paper examines whether court, child welfare and treatment outcomes differed for 301 families served through three FTDCs as compared to a matched sample of 1,220 families with substance abuse issues who received traditional child welfare services. Overall, the study found that FTDC mothers had more positive treatment outcomes than a comparison sample not served by the FTDC. FTDC mothers were more likely to enter substance abuse treatment services than were non-FTDC mothers, entered treatment more quickly after their initial court petition than did non-FTDC mothers, spent twice as much time in treatment than did non-FTDC mothers and were twice as likely to complete at least one treatment episode than non-FTDC mothers. In addition, data from the study indicate that children involved with FTDCs are significantly more likely to be reunified with their mothers than children not served by the program.
York, J., Lamis, D. A., Garfinkel, P. W., Bluestein, N. P., Boxx, M., Ellis, A., Sullivan, S., & Donaldson, S. (2012). Family drug treatment courts and social determinants of health. Family Court Review, 50(1), pp. 137–149.
The goal of this manuscript is to examine how key ingredients of FDTCs are related to social determinants of health and the potential for framework integration into FDTCs. The authors analyzed a speciﬁc FDTC including its evidence-based wrap-around services to illustrate opportunities to improve the health of women and children involved in FDTCs. Some of the recommendations made by the author include developing policy statements and publications which address the evidence base for targeting health issues specific to women and children. Future research recommendations include a review of cultural competency and culturally-adapted FDTC programs. The authors acknowledge the need for long-term evaluation outcome studies to track clients once they exit the court.