Five States Receive Funding for the Statewide System Reform Program
to Expand the Reach of Family Drug Courts
Lake Forest, California (November 18, 2014) – Five States have been selected to receive funding from the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP) under the Statewide System Reform Program (SSRP). The five SSRP grantees are:
Alabama Administrative Office of Courts
Colorado Judicial Department
Judicial Branch of Iowa
New York State Unified Court system
Supreme Court of Ohio
With over 360 FDCs nationwide serving approximately 19,000 families, FDCs are a growing response to the challenge of families affected by parental substance use disorders and child abuse and neglect. Overseen by specially trained and dedicated judicial teams, FDCs are uniquely positioned to integrate treatment and other health and social services across systems to achieve results superior to those achieved by the core collaborative partners—child welfare, treatment and the courts—operating without key FDC components. FDCs have achieved higher rates of parental participation in substance abuse treatment; longer stays in substance abuse treatment; higher rates of family reunification; shorter lengths of stay in foster care for children; and less recurrence of maltreatment. This research base strongly supports this move toward institutionalizing the principles and methods of FDCs across the child abuse and neglect court dockets.
Through the National Family Drug Court (FDC) Training and Technical Assistance Program, Children and Family Futures (CFF) will provide in-depth technical assistance to the SSRP grantees to systematically develop statewide policies, procedures and performance measures to significantly increase the number of families served or infuse FDC practices that address the legal requirements of the various systems and institutionalize those system changes that have proven effective at the project level. The purpose of this state systems reform effort is to expand FDCs’ scale (i.e., penetration rate of the larger child welfare and substance abuse treatment systems) and scope (i.e., range of comprehensive services for families) to serve all families in the child welfare system affected by parental substance use disorders.
The state’s Administrative Office of the Court (AOC) will serve as the lead in this systems change effort, working in conjunction with and coordinating closely with the state’s Court Improvement Program (CIP). Although the AOC would be the designated lead agency, the state child welfare, substance abuse treatment and other key agencies are considered essential collaborating partners and demonstrated buy-in and active support for this initiative.
The SSRP grant builds on the OJJDP-sponsored FDC publication, Guidance to States: Recommendations for Developing Family Drug Court Guidelines. The primary purpose of this document is to help sites create systems change that will have a lasting impact on the FDC and the policies and practices of the courts and their partners. Since its release in 2013, sites have used the FDC Guidelines to promote systems improvements and change on the project scale. Through this initiative, OJJDP is broadening the reach of these best practices to move beyond projects to achieve full-scale statewide changes throughout the child welfare, treatment and court systems. SSRP is a departure from most grant opportunities given that it is focused on broader, sustainable statewide systems change rather than a narrowly defined project or single intervention.
To launch this project, a prestigious group of national experts and community leaders representing the courts, substance abuse treatment, child welfare, and other family serving agencies of the five SSRP grantees will convene for a three day Grantee Kick-Off Meeting in Washington, D.C. SSRP is a departure from most grant opportunities given that it is focused on broader, sustainable statewide systems change rather than a narrowly defined project or single intervention. CFF will work with these grantees to produce a first-year plan and begin implementation in a second year. The goal of the two-year Family Drug Court - In-depth Technical Assistance (FDC-IDTA) effort is the formation of a multi-year strategic plan to implement statewide or county-wide reform of courts’ handling of cases involving children and parents in the family court docket who are affected by substance abuse and co-occurring disorders. The development of the multi-year implementation plan recognizes that even with strong investment and commitment of State leadership, Statewide systemic reform is a challenging process requiring dedicated staffing and technical expertise.