Family Treatment Courts

Family Treatment Courts

Family treatment courts (FTCs), also referred to as family drug courts and dependency drug courts, use a multidisciplinary, collaborative approach to serve families with substance use disorders (SUDs) and who are involved with the child welfare system. Well-functioning family treatment courts bring together leaders from child welfare, substance use treatment, mental health agencies, dependency courts, and other community partners in a non-adversarial approach.

When FTCs intervene effectively, children spend less time in out-of-home placement and find permanency more quickly. A meta-analysis of 16 evaluations examining FTC outcomes found that families who participated in an FTC were as likely to reunify than families receiving conventional services (1). FTC evaluations have consistently found that, compared with parents receiving conventional child welfare and dependency court interventions, parents participating in FTCs enter treatment more quickly, stay longer, complete treatment at higher rates, receive more court review hearings, and reunite with their children more often (1—4).

  • Highlighted Resource

    • Family Treatment Court Best Practice Standards
      Family Treatment Court Best Practice Standards

      Center for Children and Family Futures and the National Association of Drug Court Professionals, 2019

      The FTC Best Practices Standards provide local jurisdictions, states, tribes, and funders with clear practice guidance to improve outcomes for children, parents, and families affected by substance use and co-occurring disorders who are involved in child welfare.

      The standards reflect the rigorous research and rich practice experience from treatment courts, dependency courts, child welfare, SUD treatment, mental health treatment, children’s developmental services, and related health, educational, and social services. The eight FTC standards are interdependent and intended to be followed.

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