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Project Description

TexasThe Parenting in Recovery (PIR) program aimed to address parental substance use disorders and child safety, permanency, and well-being among families involved in the child welfare system. The project brought together a coalition of community service providers to deliver a flexible, comprehensive continuum of services to drug/alcohol dependent women with children under the age of five who were involved in the child welfare system. The core objectives of the PIR program were to assist mothers of young children in recovery from substance dependence, maintain or regain custody and establish a safe and healthy home for their child(ren). In the second year of RPG I, the program merged with the new Family Drug Treatment Court (FDTC), which started concurrent with RPG I and funded with Access to Recovery (ATR) funding. PIR mothers were admitted to a comprehensive residential care program for up to 90 days. Up to two children under the age of five were allowed to attend treatment if the mother had custody at that time. They were also required to participate in the FDTC, attending weekly FDTC sessions and interacting with the judge, the drug court team, their case manager, and other FDTC participants.

The grantee was awarded a Two-Year Extension with a primary focus on enhancing and expanding services to support child well-being, enhancing data collection to respond to data requests from partners and key stakeholders, and ensuring sustainability of the program post-grant funding. During these two years, the grantee refined services provided to mothers while expanding to include fathers into the program. They also added wraparound services for children, including medical and dental care and therapeutic services to address children’s social-emotional and behavioral concerns. The grantee and partners also focused on developing a more trauma-informed and trauma-responsive continuum of care for parents and children.

Target Population

PIR/PIR II Targeted:

The target population for the PIR/PIR II project included women with young children under the age of five who resided in Travis County, were identified as substance dependent, and had an open investigation with CPS. Mothers who gave birth to a substance-exposed newborn were automatically eligible for the program even if they were not involved with CPS at that time.

Major Program Goals

Goal 1: Advance the service delivery system for the children/youth of the project by providing assessments, individualized supports and services, and consistent legal representation in court

Goal 2: Further develop the existing collaboration through the implementation of a self-sufficient shared data collection system with an emphasis on performance indicators at the local level

Goal 3: Conclude the sustainability plan for project; additionally, during the extension grant PIR II will collaborate

Major Program Services

Case Management and In-Home Services

  • Intensive/Coordinated Case Management
  • Family Group Decision Making/Family Case Conferencing
  • Wraparound/Intensive In-Home Comprehensive Services

Parenting/Family Strengthening

  • Standard Parenting Skills Training/Education or Parenting Classes
  • Enhanced Parenting Services
  • Evidence-Based Parenting or Family Strengthening Program – Nurturing Parent

Visitation Services

  • Supervised Visitation
  • Therapeutic Visitation

Mental Health and Trauma Services for Adults

  • Mental Health Services and Psychiatric Care Including Medication Management
  • Trauma-Informed Services
  • Trauma-Specific Services - Seeking Safety, Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing

Substance Abuse Prevention Services

  • Information Dissemination
  • Prevention Education

Substance Abuse Treatment for Adults

  • Longer-Term Residential/Inpatient (more than 30 days)
  • Residential/Inpatient Treatment - Specialized for Parents with Children
  • Intensive Outpatient
  • Aftercare/Continuing Care/Recovery Community Support Services

Specialized Outreach, Engagement, and Retention

  • Recovery Coach/Specialist
  • Family Team Meetings

Family-Centered Substance Abuse Treatment

Screening and Assessment - Child Welfare and Other Children's Issues

  • Screening and Assessment for Child Welfare Issues
  • Screening and Assessment for Trauma
  • Other Specialized Child Screening and Assessment - Developmental

Screening and Assessment - Substance Use and Other Adult Issues

  • Screening and Assessment for Substance Use Disorders
  • Other Specialized Adult Screening and Assessment - Parenting, Psycho-Social

Children's Services

  • Early Intervention
  • Developmental Services
  • Trauma Services for Children/Youth - Child Parent Psychotherapy, Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavior Therapy

Cross-Systems Collaboration

  • Clinical and Program Training
  • Cross-systems Policies and Procedures
  • Regular Joint Case Staffing Meetings
  • Cross-systmes Information Sharing and Data Analysis
  • Partner Meetings - Regional Partnership and Program Management

Housing Services

  • Housing Support and Assistance Services
  • Transitional, Interim, or Temporary Short-Term Housing
  • Permanent Housing


  • Educational Counseling
  • Vocational/Employment Services
  • Domestic Violence
  • Health Care Need for Adults - Dental/Eye
  • Financial Counseling

Family Treatment Drug Courts/Dependency Drug Courts

Partner Agencies and Organizations

The RPG encouraged service providers to develop and/or strengthen cross-system linkages between substance abuse treatment, child welfare, dependency court, and other service systems. The PIR II project included the following partners:

Child Welfare

  • Texas Department of Family and Protective Services

Substance Abuse

  • Travis County Health and Human Services and Veterans Service
  • Office of Drug Control Policy (ODCP)
  • Austin Recovery


  • Family Drug Treatment Court
  • Travis County Civil Courts

Criminal Justice, Law Enforcement, Legal and Related Organizations

  • Travis County District Attorney
  • Travis County Office of Child Representation

Other Community and Child and Family Services

  • Safe Place, Domestic Violence Services
  • Communities for Recover, Recovery Support
  • Bridges the Gap, Recovery Support


  • Long Star, Federally Qualified Health Clinic (FQHC)
  • Mano de Cristo, Dental Services
  • Eye Site Family Vision and EyeMart Express – Vision Services


  • Foundation Communities

Mental Health and Health Services

  • Travis County Health and Human Services and Veterans Service
  • Austin Travis County Integral Care (Children’s Services)
  • Austin Child Guidance Center
  • Capitol Area Counseling
  • The Children’s Continuum


  • Texas Workforce Solutions

Other Evaluation and Training

  • University of Texas at Austin
  • Encompass



This project proposed an experimental design. The treatment group consisted of clients receiving PIR II services. The control group consisted of clients receiving typical child welfare and substance abuse services during the RPG grant period but not the RPG enhanced services.

Grantees measured performance indicators in the following domains: safety, permanency, child and adult well-being, and adult recovery. For additional information regarding program outcomes, please contact key personnel.

Sustainability Strategies and Activities

Travis County was successful in securing resources to sustain completely their RPG efforts and services beyond the Federal grant period. The grantee successfully marketed the benefits and accomplishments of their RPG program to the Travis County Commissioners Court, which announced full allocation of their service dollar request to sustain the program. Collaborative partners also came to the table with funding and other resources to sustain their efforts following RPG grant funding.

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Project Details

  • Lead Agency:
    Travis County Health and Human Services/Veteran Services
    Austin, Texas
  • Geographic Area and Congressional District Served:
    State: Texas
    City of Austin; 25th Congressional District; Urban
  • Federal Grant:
    2 years
  • Proposed Number Served (2 years):
    Children: 256
    Adults: 162
    Families: 162
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