Equity and Inclusion in Family Treatment Courts


August 28, 2018 

Family Treatment Court (FTC) is a promising model in achieving positive outcomes for families affected by substance use disorders and involved in the child welfare system.  As FTCs work towards achieving these outcomes, it is important to assess whether the improved recovery, safety and permanency outcomes achieved for FTC participants are similarly experienced by individuals of all genders and diverse racial and ethnic groups.  

This Café Conversation shares key opportunities for the FTC field and partner agencies to more closely examine their courts to ensure fairness and equal access to its program.  The discussion highlights the descriptive findings of a data set from a federal initiative determining whether racial disproportionality and disparities existed amongst a cohort of families participating in FTCs. These findings were published in the inaugural issue of the Journal for Advancing Justice. Through collaboration and quality implementation, agencies and systems can partner together to increase access to comprehensive and coordinated services. This discussion also highlights examples of FTCs that have examined this issue and taken important steps to ensure equity and inclusion for all children and families in the child welfare system affected by parental substance use disorders, regardless of gender, race, or ethnicity.  

There are numerous learning opportunities and resources to enhance learning.  The 30-minute introductory video corresponds with a Team Discussion Guide to help facilitate conversations amongst FTC practitioners.  The Café Conversation webinar recording features a discussion between practitioners from two FTC programs and a Tribal Law Specialist from the Tribal Law and Policy Institute. They share their experiences and expertise in ensuring equity and inclusion in their communities.  A Call to Action Guide is provided to support viewers taking important next steps.  


  • Russ Bermejo, Senior Program Associate, Children and Family Futures
  • Jill Murphy, Program Supervisor, King County (WA) Family Treatment Court
  • John Wiesner, Program Manager, Bridges, Inc.
  • Lauren van Schilfgaarde, Tribal Law Specialist, Tribal Law and Policy Institute  

Learning Objectives: 

1. Explore the context of racial disproportionality and disparities in the justice, treatment and child welfare systems and how FTCs are in a unique position to be part of the solution or a contributor to these injustices  

2. Learn how other FTCs are monitoring and addressing gender and racial disproportionality and disparities in their programs  

3. Identify practical next steps for FTC practitioners and teams to ensure equal access and outcomes for all participant families 

FDC Learning Academy Podcast Post Webinar Q/A with Judge Aurora Martinez Jones

Live Cafe Conversations

Learning Opportunities

Grantee TTA Projects


Through federally- and foundation-funded projects, Children and Family Futures and its small business subsidiary, Center for Children and Family Futures, produces publications, reports, Technical Assistance tools and web-based learning for the field. The following are featured resources from our work. For more resources or information related to a specific topic, please visit our resources page or click the “Request Assistance” button below or at the top of the page.

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