Skip to main content

Project Description

CaliforniaThe Mendocino County Health and Human Services Agency (HHSA), Social Services Department, Division of Family and Children’s Services (DFCS) was awarded and served as the lead agency for a RPG I grant in 2007. DFCS collaborated with the Alcohol and Other Drug Programs (AODP) and the Mendocino County Superior Court to create the Mendocino County Family Dependency Drug Court (MCFDDC). The goal of MCFDDC was to coordinate, integrate, and deliver intensified services to address barriers facing families whose children’s safety and well-being was threatened by their parents’ substance use disorders. The program was designed to address the goals of safety, permanency, and well-being for children within the context of a recovery-oriented system of care that offered family-centered, strength-based strategies. Supportive services that addressed individual needs, and immediate access to intensive treatment services were coupled with intensive judicial review, incentives, and sanctions.

The grantee was awarded a Two-Year Extension grant in 2012 to continue building the program by adding services that focused on the well-being of the child and family, ensuring all services was more trauma-informed, evaluating the effectiveness of the program, and planning for sustainability. The MCFDDC also increased capacity from 25 to 40 adults served with the extension grant.

Target Population

MCFDDC Targeted:

Families involved with the dependency court due to abuse or neglect of a child and that met the following eligibility criteria: resided in Mendocino County; not incarcerated for more than 45 days after jurisdiction/disposition hearing, alcohol and other drug use identified as a factor in the petition or an issue at disposition; no history of violent offenses; pregnant or parenting; ordered into family reunification or maintenance services at the disposition hearing; did not possess a valid medical recommendation for medicinal marijuana (or agreed not to use despite having one); and was at least l8 years of age.

Major Program Goals

Goal 1: Ensure child well-being

a. Support the safe and timely reunification or permanent placement of abused and neglected children

b. Assess and address the developmental needs of children ages 0-5

Goal 2: Improve adult well-being

a. Increase substance abuse treatment retention and completion rates

b. Assess and address needs for ancillary support services

c. Provide continuing care supportive services

Goal 3: Improve family well-being

a. Increase services to strengthen families

Goal 4: Increase collaboration, integration, and coordination between the Court, Child Welfare Services, and AODP

a. Continue to develop review, and revise policies and procedures to build collaborative capacity

b. Build staff and partner capacity to incorporate trauma-informed strategies into all services

c. Ensure program sustainability

Major Program Services

Case Management and In-Home Services

  • Intensive/Coordinated Case Management

Parenting/Family Strengthening

  • Standard Parenting Skills Training/Education or Parenting Classes
  • Evidence-Based Parenting or Family Strengthening Program – Triple P, Celebrating Families! (adapted)

Visitation Services

  • Supervised Visitation

Mental Health and Trauma Services for Adults

  • Psychiatric Care Including Medication Management
  • Trauma-Informed Services
  • Trauma-Specific Services – Seeking Safety

Substance Abuse Treatment for Adults

  • Non-Intensive Outpatient or Other Step-Down
  • Aftercare/Continuing Care/Recovery Community Support Services

Specialized Outreach, Engagement, and Retention

  • Cognitive Behavioral Strategies – Motivational Interviewing/Motivational Enhancement Therapy
  • Dedicated Alcohol and Other Drug Staff present at case conferences

Substance Abuse Prevention Services

  • Alternative Activities

Screening and Assessment – Child Welfare and Other Children’s Issues

  • Screening and Assessment for Child Welfare Issues

Screening and Assessment – Substance Use and Other Adult Issues

  • Screening and Assessment for Substance Use Disorders

Housing Services

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

Cross-Systems Collaboration

  • Regular Joint Case Staffing Meetings
  • Cross-systems Information Sharing and Data Analysis
  • Partner Meetings – Regional Partnership and Program Management

Family Treatment Drug Court/Dependency Drug Court


  • Transportation

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 MCFDDC project included the following partners:

Child Welfare

  • HHSA, Social Services, DFCS

Substance Abuse

  • HHSA Alcohol and Other Drug Programs (AODP)
  • Residential treatment programs in other Northern CA counties


  • Mendocino County Superior Court

Criminal Justice, Law Enforcement, Legal and Related Organizations

  • Mendocino County Counsel
  • Children’s Attorneys
  • Parent’s Attorneys

Other Community and Child and Family Services

  • Redwood Children’s Services
  • Tapestry Family Services


  • Ford Street Project (FSP)
  • Project Sanctuary

Mental Health

  • Mendocino County Behavioral Health and Recovery Services
  • Oertner Management Group
  • Redwood Quality Management Company


  • First 5 Mendocino
  • School of Performing Arts and Cultural Education (SPACE)

Other Evaluation and Training

  • Children and Family Futures


This project proposed a quasi-experimental design. The treatment group consisted of clients receiving MCFDDC services. The comparison group consisted of clients receiving typical child welfare and substance abuse services prior to the RPG grant period but not the RPG enhanced services. Data for the comparison group was matched at the case level.

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

With the financial support of collaborative partners, Mendocino County was able to sustain the RPG services by focusing on a smaller group of clients (24). However, the transitional housing component was not sustained. The grantee received a one-year grant from their local partner First 5 Mendocino to fund the Parent Mentor Program. The RPG team will use the year to explore other funding sources for these services, including the possibility of billing to Medicaid.

Request Technical Assistance


Project Details

  • Lead Agency:
    Mendocino County Health and Human Services Agency, Social Services
    Mendocino, California
  • Geographic Area and Congressional District Served:
    State: California
    Mendocino County; 1st Congressional District; Rural
  • Federal Grant:
    2 years
  • Proposed Number Served (2 years):
    Children: 231
    Adults: 154
    Families: 135
Back to Top