The Prevention and Family Recovery (PFR) initiative, funded by the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation and The Duke Endowment, seeks to advance the capacity of Family Drug Courts (FDCs) to provide more comprehensive family-centered care to children, parents and families affected by substance use disorders. PFR is focused on integrating and institutionalizing evidence-based parenting services and developmental and therapeutic services for children into the larger FDC systems of care to improve family well-being and prevent the recurrence of child abuse and neglect. PFR awarded grants to four experienced FDCs across the country to strengthen their parenting and children’s services for vulnerable families.
Children and Family Futures (CFF) is providing intense technical assistance (TA) and expert consultation to help the four FDCs build their capacity to implement and sustain comprehensive family-centered care, foster collaboration with other prevention and early intervention initiatives and facilitate practice and systems improvements to better serve families. The PFR Change Team that will support the grantees includes:
With more than 360 FDCs nationwide serving approximately 19,000 families, FDCs are a growing response to the practice and policy challenges of working with families affected by parental substance use disorders and child abuse and neglect. FDCs seek to do what is in the best interest of the family by providing a safe and secure environment for the child while intensively intervening and treating a parent’s substance use and other co-occurring disorders. Overseen by specially trained and dedicated judicial teams, FDCs are uniquely positioned to integrate preventive services across systems with the flexibility to administer an array of services responses to ensure family engagement in treatment and recovery supports.
PFR strategies represent the best of what is known to impact parent-child relationships within the prevention context, what can be institutionalized in the FDC environment and what leads to systemic change. The integration of parenting interventions and developmental and therapeutic services to children will require FDC systems and their partnering agencies to behave differently toward parents and their children. Such change requires new norms among social workers, substance abuse treatment providers, court staff and the community that place greater emphasis on the importance of positive parenting and child well-being. Policies and practices that institutionalize and sustain these changes lead to improved outcomes for the child, parent-child relationship and family.
PFR Evaluation Approach
The PFR evaluation seeks to demonstrate how a comprehensive and sustainable family-centered FDC approach—grounded in effective cross-systems collaboration—improves child, parent and family outcomes, particularly in the areas of child abuse and neglect, reunification, parental recovery and parent-child relationships. The scope of the initiative is multifaceted and complex, and expands across four states in changing sociopolitical contexts. As a result, PFR is using a realist evaluation approach that focuses on finding out what works, for whom, how, and in what circumstances.
PFR's evaluation activities are integrated throughout all stages of the initiative and support program development and improved implementation including lessons learned along the way. The evaluation investigates the relationships between context, project implementation and outcomes through mixed quantitative and qualitative data collection methods and by abstracting performance indicators from agency management information systems. Findings will enable FDCs to better understand why PFR interventions work and how they can be used to keep families together and prevent child abuse and neglect.
The four major goals of PFR are to:
Pima County Family Drug Court – Tucson, AZ
San Francisco Dependency Drug Court – San Francisco, CA
Tompkins County Family Treatment Court – Ithaca, NY
Robeson County Family Treatment Court – Lumberton, NC