Family Drug Court Peer Learning Court Program
Through the support of the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP), the Center for Children and Family Futures (CCFF) is pleased to announce the Family Drug Court (FDC) Peer Learning Court Program (PLC). Recognizing the need to highlight national best practice models for Family Drug Courts and to further the exchange of learning through peer-to-peer technical assistance, this program has identified best practice models by creating five mentorship sites across the nation. Peer Learning Courts will host visiting FDC professionals to view their FDC in action, and will share policies and practices, as well as lessons learned.
The Peer Learning Court Program is part of the range of technical assistance opportunities available through the Center for Children and Family Futures. The courts that have been selected as an FDC Peer Learning Court use sound evidence-supported practices and policies, and demonstrate strong collaboration among the courts, child welfare, substance abuse treatment agencies and others.
Peer Learning Court
Judge: Robert B. Kershaw
The Baltimore City Family Recovery Program (FRP) has been in operation since August 15, 2005 and has served 910 parents, 422 of those have completed the FRP program successfully. The FRP uses a parallel model and offers prevention services, case management, treatment referrals within 24 hours of assessment, mental health services, housing and transportation assistance along with incentives for families. They provide onsite mental health assessments, therapy and psychological evaluations, Psychiatric Rehabilitation Programs (PRP) for adults with serious and persistent mental illness, family therapy sessions and individual therapy sessions with children, transitional housing resources, vocational training and substance abuse treatment. NPC Research conducted an independent outcome and cost study of the Baltimore City FRP, which concluded that families in the FRP had shorter foster care stays, greater reunification rates, higher treatment completion and reduced cost to the child welfare system.
Chatham County, Georgia
Judge: Patricia P. Stone
The Chatham County Family Dependency Treatment Court (FDTC) began operation on January 8, 2008 and has the capacity to serve 79 parents and children. This PLC utilizes an integrated model and provides an integrated, court-based and multi-disciplinary team approach, which strives to achieve timely decisions, coordinated treatment and ancillary services. All clients and children are assessed using biopsychosocial evaluations, a Locus evaluation, drug screening and nursing assessments. Clients are also assessed for any medical, psychological, educational and safety needs. Services for the individuals in the family are garnered depending on identified needs including domestic violence, parenting, housing, clothing, food and legal assistance. The FDTC team has received in-depth training on motivating behavior change and has applied this learned principle to accomplish this in their own court through a system of incentives and responses to behavior. A program evaluation was completed in 2009 and a current evaluation is being conducted by NPC research as part of a statewide initiative.
Hillsdale County, Michigan
Judge: Michelle Bianchi
Hillsdale County Family Drug Treatment Court (HCFDTC) was established in 2008 and has a capacity to serve 15 families and 30 children. This rural court uses the integrated FDC model in which there is a clear investment and passion by all the FDTC members. The PLC uses “Seeking Safety,” an evidence-based substance abuse and trauma curriculum, as well as a neurodevelopment trauma assessment, to evaluate the parents. Children are evaluated for neurodevelopment prenatal exposure and trauma. In this trauma informed HCFDTC, all children and parents receive comprehensive neurodevelopmental testing within a month of enrollment. All assessment results are presented and reviewed at the HCFDTC weekly meetings to develop a treatment plan that is driven by the assessment findings for both parent and child. In addition, all team members engage in collaborative case planning with acknowledgment of the importance of engagement and re-engagement strategies.
Jackson County, Missouri
Commissioner: Molly Merrigan
The Jackson County Family Drug Court (FDC), established in 1997, was selected as one of three national pilot sites by the George Washington University evaluation team. This FDC utilizes an integrated model and has a capacity to serve 110 families. They have a well-developed set of partnerships that represent long standing collaborative relationships that enables families to receive comprehensive trauma-informed services, substance abuse treatment, transitional housing, aftercare, educational services, family counseling, psychiatric services as needed, domestic violence and crisis prevention services, case management and transportation support. In addition, they have developed a partnership with The Children’s Place who provides comprehensive services to the children in the program, including PCIT. The FDC offers gender-specific treatment focus and a medication assisted treatment option. This PLC has completed a substantial evaluation and uses the results to modify and improve program practices.
Pima County, Arizona
Judge: Susan A. Kettlewell
The Pima County Family Drug Court (FDC) has been in operation since June 20, 2001 and has had 253 graduates. The FDC can serve up to 80 parents and 136 children at one time. Pima County FDC uses a parallel model and has established solid relationships with the local CPS and Regional Behavioral Health Agency administrations that remain committed to FDC. This PLC offers intensive case management, Recovery Support Specialists, child case specialists, trauma screenings and referral to trauma treatment, developmental assessments, parent/child relationship assessments, Celebrating Families!parenting curriculum, alumni services and culturally-appropriate treatment specifically addressing sexual trauma history as it relates to substance abuse. In addition, the Pima FDC utilizes gender responsive court dockets to ensure that each parent receives specialized case planning. The Pima County FDC history of fidelity to best practice and specialization in individual, trauma-informed therapy is an example of excellence in the field.
To learn more about the FDC Peer Learning Court Program or to visit one of the courts, click here.
This project is supported by Award No. 2013-DC-BX-K002 awarded by the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Office of Justice Programs. The opinions, findings and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the Department of Justice.