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Project Description

California The Treatment Alliance for Safe Children (TASC) project was a collaboration between Santa Cruz County Health Services Agency’s Alcohol and Drug Program, Human Services Department’s Family & Children’s Services (Child Welfare Services), the Superior Court, and a network of community based service providers. TASC served families who resided in all regions of Santa Cruz County; and served an average of 81 adult clients, 112 children and 71 families a year.

The Family Preservation Court (FPC), the central program in the TASC project, was a highly successful voluntary treatment court dedicated to assisting parents in addressing their substance abuse issues to increase the likelihood of either reunification with their children or to prevent removal of their children due to abuse and neglect. The Regional Partnership Grant (RPG) enabled the County to enhance and expand this original “Dependency Drug Court” to provide a continuum of intensive case management and individually tailored, culturally competent treatment and ancillary services.

Target Population

Treatment Alliance for Safe Children targeted:

  • Families residing in Santa Cruz County, California with methamphetamine or other drug abuse issues
  • Families who volunteer to participate in the Family Preservation Court program
  • Families with a child in out-of-home placement (Family Reunification) or families with court-ordered in-home placement (Family Maintenance)
  • Families that have a child age 12 or under
  • Parent needs a placement of Level II.1 (Intensive Outpatient Treatment) or higher, based on a comprehensive substance use assessment and application of American Society of Addiction Medicine patient placement criteria

Major Project Goals

  • Implement Expanded and Enhanced Dependency Drug Court;
  • Improve Child Outcomes;
  • Improve Adult and Family/Relationship Outcomes;
  • Improve Regional Partnerships and Service Capacity.

Key Major Program Services

Case Management and In-Home Services

  • Intensive Case Management
  • Family Group Decision Making/Family Case Conferencing
  • Home Visits

Mental Health and Trauma Services for Adults

  • Mental Health Services
  • Trauma-Informed Services

Substance Abuse Treatment for Adults

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

Specialized Outreach, Engagement and Retention

  • Cognitive Behavioral Strategies - Motivational interviewing
  • Co-location of Staff
  • Peer/Parent Mentor

Children’s Services

  • Early Intervention and Developmental Services
  • Mental Health Counseling – Parent Child Interaction Therapy, Trauma Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

Partner Agencies and Organizations

The Treatment Alliance for Safe Children Project includes the following partners:

Child Welfare

  • Regional/County Child Welfare

Substance Abuse

  • Regional/County Substance Abuse Agency
  • Substance Abuse Treatment Agency


  • Family Treatment Drug Court (FTDC)

Mental Health Services

  • Regional/County Mental Health Agency
  • Mental Health Service Provider


  • Parenting Education/Services Provider


  • State/County Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) or Welfare Office

Other Community and Child and Family Services

  • Domestic Violence Services

Other Evaluation and Training

  • Evaluation (University-Affiliated or Other)

Performance Indicators


The majority of children (84.5%) did not experience an occurrence of child maltreatment after enrollment in program services.


Approximately three-quarters of the children in the home at time of enrollment remained in the home at case closure.

The median length of stay in foster care for those reunified was significantly shorter for TASC (10.8 months) than comparison children (14.3 months).


A total of 232 TASC (97.9%) and 23 comparison (95.8%) adults were admitted to substance abuse treatment.

The median13 length of stay in treatment for those that completed treatment was significantly longer for TASC (364.0 median days or 12.0 months) than comparison adults (124.0 median days or 4.1 months).


Six children were born to TASC mothers while they were enrolled in the program and for all of the children no substances were detected at birth.

Nearly all of the adults who needed received continuing care services (96.4%), parenting services (94.9%), dental services (87.6%), domestic violence services (87.3%), employment services (83.0%) and child care services (80.0%). Approximately three-quarters of the adults who needed received primary medical care (76.4%), transportation services (76.1%) and mental health services (71.8%).

Sustainability Status

The grantee reports serving fewer participants post-grant funding and a portion of the funding Child Welfare allocated for treatment of non-FPC clients is currently being used to help support the program. CalWORKs funding and California realignment funds that were allocated for the original dependency drug court are also being used.

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Project Details

  • Lead Agency:
    County of Santa Cruz, Health Services Agency, Alcohol and Drug Program
  • Geographic Area and Congressional District Served:
    Central Coast of Santa Cruz; Congressional District 17
  • Federal Grant:
    $500,000/5 years
  • Evaluation Design and Comparison Group Type:
    Quasi-experimental, Historical, Matched Population-Level
  • Proposed Number Served (5 years):
    Children: 293
    Adults: 219
    Families: 189
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