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Project Description

Colorado The purpose of the Fourth Judicial District Family Reunification Grant was to create a community-based Family Reunification Coalition whose goal was to reunify families through increasing the well-being, permanency, stability, and safety of children who are in out-of-home placement or are at risk out out-of-home placement as a result of a primary care giver’s substance abuse. To accomplish these goals, the following system of services and supports were implemented and/or expanded: Family Treatment Drug Court, Rural Substance Abuse Services; Care Coordination; Matrix Model Substance Abuse Services; Social Work Services to Assist Respondent Parent’s Counsel and their Clients; CASA Services; and Inter-agency Collaboration and Community Education through Executive Director for the Alliance for Drug Endangered Children. It was anticipated through taking a comprehensive view of families’ situations, the Family Reunification Grant would reduce fragmentation of services, facilitate coordination of care, and increase treatment capacity.

Target Population

Project Aware targeted:

  • The child or the parent/caretaker of any child who was living in the Fourth Judicial District and involved in the child welfare system due to substance abuse issues
  • Families were primarily identified by intake caseworkers investigating child abuse and neglect

Major Project Goals

  • Children have permanency and stability in their living situations;
  • Children are protected from abuse and neglect;
  • The community has an increased ability to address parental and caretaker substance abuse and its affects on children;
  • Families have enhanced capacity to provide for their children’s needs.

Key Major Program Services

Case Management and In-Home Services

  • Traditional Case Management
  • Family Group Decision Making
  • Traditional In-Home Services

Parenting/Family Strengthening

  • Manualized Parenting Curriculum
  • Family Therapy Counseling

Substance Abuse Treatment for Adults

  • Non-Intensive Outpatient – Matrix Model

Specialized Outreach, Engagement and Retention

  • Cognitive Behavioral Strategies
  • Co-location of Staff

Screening and Assessment – Substance Use and Other Adult Issues

  • Screening and Assessment for Substance Use Disorders

Partner Agencies and Organizations

The Project Aware Project includes the following partners:

Child Welfare

  • State Child Welfare Agency
  • Regional County Welfare

Substance Abuse

  • Substance abuse treatment agency/ providers


  • Family Treatment Drug Court (FTDC)
  • Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA)

Criminal Justice, Law Enforcement, Legal and Related Organizations

  • Attorney
  • Drug Endangered Children (DEC)
  • Legal Services/Client Advocacy

Other Evaluation and Training

  • Evaluation (University-Affiliated or Other)

Performance Indicators


There were a significant number of clients who completed treatment overall. In addition, being in therapy contributed to completing treatment. There were a significant number of clients who achieved abstinence at the end of their time in the program, both for primary substance and secondary substance.

Safety and Permanency

There was a significant effect of being in treatment on the child’s living arrangement at beginning of the case. For FTDC, the effect was in the expected direction, with children being less likely to be out of the home.


For FTDC, being in that treatment group was associated with an improvement in child well-being, whereas not being in it was associated with a decrease (though insignificant) in child well-being, both measured from start to completion of treatment.

Sustainability Status

At the time of the Final Report, the team secured funding to continue to provide Family Treatment Drug Court for 7 of the expanded FTDC slots. Funding was secured by reallocating funds for other services to the expanded Family Treatment Drug Court slots previously funded by the Family Reunification Grant.

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Project Details

  • Lead Agency:
    AspenPointe Health Network
  • Geographic Area and Congressional District Served:
    El Paseo County; Congressional District 5
  • Federal Grant:
    $500,000/5 years
  • Evaluation Design and Comparison Group Type:
    Quasi-experimental, Historical, Aggregate
  • Proposed Number Served (5 years):
    Children: 582
    Adults: 305
    Families: 236
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