Project Description

Oregon In 2007, Jackson County formed a collaboration of partners committed to reducing foster care placements and making system changes which would result in a better experience for children and their families involved in the child welfare system. Partners included: Jackson County’s Child Welfare Agency, OnTrack (the community’s substance abuse treatment provider), the Community Family Court, The Family Nurturing Center and the Court-Appointed Special Advocates (CASA). Also in 2007, OnTrack applied for, and received, a 5-year RPG issued by the Federal Children’s Bureau. OnTrack has succeeded in developing a model of care which can and will be spread throughout Oregon over time. As a result of these efforts, very few children of families involved in the project have been removed. Most of the children who were removed were returned very quickly and maintained strong relationships with their parents while out of the home. The services offered through the grant were broad and reached short- and long- term goals, including preserving families while parents undergo treatment, establishing sobriety, improving child-parent bonds and attachments, and helping families reshape their lives and move out of poverty with employment and housing assistance.

Target Population

OnTrack targeted:

  • Children, aged eight and under, and their siblings who are involved in the child welfare system, who are currently in an out-of-home placement or who are at risk of entering an out-of-home placement as the result of a parent’s substance abuse which has led to neglect.

Major Project Goals

  • To enhance the well-being of children of meth abusing parents;
  • To improve the outcomes of parents who are diagnosed with methamphetamine dependency;
  • Families will have enhanced capacity to provide for their children’s needs;
  • Jackson and Josephine Counties will have new or increased ability to address parental methamphetamine abuse and its effect of children.

Key Major Program Services

Case Management and In-Home Services

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

Parenting/Family Strengthening

  • Evidence-Based Parenting or Family Strengthening Program - Nurturing Parenting

Engagement/Involvement of Fathers

  • Targeted Outreach

Mental Health and Trauma Services for Adults

  • Mental Health Services
  • Trauma-Informed Services
  • Trauma-Specific Services - Seeking Safety

Substance Abuse Treatment for Adults

  • Residential/Inpatient Long-Term Treatment- Specialized for Parents w/Children
  • Intensive Outpatient and Partial Hospitalization - Matrix Model
  • Non-Intensive Outpatient
  • Aftercare/Continuing Care/Recovery Community Support Services

Specialized Outreach, Engagement and Retention

  • Cognitive Behavioral Strategies - Contingency Management
  • Recovery Coach/Specialist
  • Co-Location of Staff

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

  • Screening and Assessment for Trauma
  • Other Specialized Child Screening and Assessment – Behavioral/Socio-Emotional, Family Functioning

Screening/Assessment – Substance Use and Other Adult Issues

  • Other Specialized Adult Screening and Assessment – Mental Health/Co-Occurring Disorders, Trauma/Domestic Violence, Family Functioning

Children’s Services

  • Early Intervention
  • Mental Health Services for Children/Youth
  • Trauma Services for Children/Youth – Parent Child Interaction Therapy (PCIT)

Other Major Cultural Strategy

  • Bilingual/Bicultural Home-Based Services

Partner Agencies and Organizations

The OnTrack Project includes the following partners:

Child Welfare

  • State Child Welfare Agency
  • Regional/County Child Welfare

Substance Abuse

  • Substance Abuse Treatment Agency/Providers

Courts

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

Criminal Justice, Law Enforcement, Legal and Related Organizations

  • Attorney
  • Legal Services/Client Advocacy

Mental Health

  • Mental Health Services Provider

Housing

  • Housing/Homeless Services Provider

Education

  • Early Childhood Services/Education Provider
  • Parenting Education/Services Provider

Employment

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

Evaluator

  • Evaluator (University-Affiliated or Other)

Other Community and Child/Family Services

  • Home Visiting Agency/ Services Provider

Performance Indicators

Safety and Permanency

Occurrence of Child Maltreatment: Among members of the RPG treatment group that participated in a post-program follow-up period, only 10% of children experienced a substantiated maltreatment report subsequent to RPG entry. Thirty-three percent of comparison group children experienced a substantiated maltreatment report subsequent to reunification with their parent following the most recent removal due to maltreatment suggesting that children in the comparison group were roughly three times as likely to experience subsequent maltreatment as the RPG treatment group.

Reentries to Foster Care: Among the RPG treatment group only 6% of children experienced a removal due to substantiated maltreatment subsequent to RPG entry. Twenty-eight percent of comparison group children experienced a removal due to substantiated maltreatment subsequent to reunification with their parent following the most recent removal due to maltreatment. This means that the comparison group children were four times as likely to experience a subsequent removal as the RPG treatment group.

Timeliness of Reunification: Only 2% of children discharged from foster care to reentry spent more than 10 months in out-of-home placement. The average time to physical reunification was just over two months with the majority of children reunified with their parent within one month. Among the RPG treatment children, 98% were physically and legally reunified with their parent while only 51% of comparison children experienced legal reunification as their final family permanency outcome. Retention in Substance Abuse Treatment: At least 61% of families completed the program as of 9/30/12. The remaining 39% of families were still in the program at time of the Final Report.

Sustainability Status

Armed with data, the Regional Partners were able to approach state legislators and to share with them a clinically proven, financially sound and trauma-informed transformational system for Child Protective Services. This led to the passing of SB 964 which will provide funding to sustain these successful efforts.

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Reports

Project Details

  • Lead Agency:
    OnTrack, Inc
  • Geographic Area and Congressional District Served:
    Jackson County; Congressional District 2
  • Federal Grant:
    $500,000/5 years
  • Evaluation Design and Comparison Group Type:
    Jackson County, Historical, Matched Population-Level
  • Proposed Number Served (5 years):
    Children: 292
    Adults: 241
    Families: 182
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