OJJDP is seeking to infuse effective family drug court (FDC) practices established at the individual, local level and institutionalize them in the larger state-level child welfare, substance abuse treatment, and court systems. The purpose of this state systems reform effort is to expand the 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) of FDCs to serve all families in the child welfare system affected by parental substance use disorders more effectively and improve child, parent, and family outcomes. In FY 2014, OJJDP awarded five states under the FDCs SSRP effort to work closely with the Court Improvement Program to develop policies that expand or infuse FDC practices across state systems. The goal is for states to serve more families affected by parental substance use disorders who are involved in the child welfare system. SSRP achieves this goal through enhanced cross-systems collaboration; infusion of effective FDC practices into the larger child welfare, substance use disorder, and/or dependency court systems; and increasing the scale and scope of FDCs across the state. The first stage of this process involved a 2-year planning and early implementation phase. OJJDP provided the states with intensive technical assistance, facilitated by Children and Family Futures, to develop a systems change plan and initial implementation work. This solicitation supports the implementation of the plan developed by the invited states…
A FDC is devoted to cases of child abuse and neglect that involve parental substance use disorders. Its purpose is to protect the children’s safety and welfare while giving parents the tools they need to become sober, responsible caregivers. While the FDC movement has grown dramatically over the past 17 years, FDCs have only reached an estimated 10 percent of the children and families who need this intervention. 2 As a result, there are many more parents and children in their communities who are in need of FDC services.
To better address this population of families on a larger scale, FDCs must shift their focus from “project-level” thinking to “systems-level” thinking, which requires innovations that can infuse, embed, or integrate FDC practices into all cases affected by parental substance use disorders in the child welfare system. The purpose of SSRP is to serve all families affected by parental substance use disorders more effectively by increasing collaboration between the child welfare, court, and substance use disorder treatment systems to ensure families have access to a range of comprehensive services that improve child, parent, and family outcomes.
Recent collaborative projects among child welfare, substance use disorder treatment, dependency courts, and other service systems have achieved substantially better family outcomes than systems lacking successful collaborative structures—at times achieving outcomes that are two to three times better than those in standard operations.Key ingredients of improved practice and policy leading to better family outcomes are:
1. A system of identifying families with substance use disorders.
2. Earlier access to assessment and appropriate treatment services.
3. Increased management of recovery services and compliance.
4. Improved family-centered services and parent-child relationships.
5. Increased judicial or administrative oversight.
6. Systemic response for participants—contingency management.
7. A collaborative nonadversarial approach across service systems and courts. FDCs have expanded during the past two decades because they provide a strong system of accountability with proven results for children and families in the child welfare system affected by parental substance use disorders.
FDCs at the individual project level have shown they are more effective in achieving better child welfare and treatment outcomes than are core collaborative partners—child welfare, treatment, and the courts—operating without key family drug court components.
Collaboratives that can effectively bring together substance abuse, mental health, and other social services agencies to meet the needs of the family as a whole achieve better rates of parental participation in substance abuse treatment, longer stays in substance abuse treatment, greater rates of family reunification, shorter lengths of stay in foster care for children, and less recurrence of maltreatment. This research base strongly supports the institutionalization of the FDC strategies and methods more broadly across state systems to affect all cases in child welfare affected by substance use disorders.
This statewide systems reform effort builds on the OJJDP-sponsored publication, Guidance to States: Recommendations for Developing Family Drug Court Guidelines. This document helps sites support systems change that will have a lasting impact on the policies and practices of the court, child welfare, and substance use disorder treatment service systems, and the many community-based organizations that serve and support families. Since OJJDP released the guidelines in 2013, counties, states, and tribes have used them to advance systems improvements. OJJDP would like to broaden the reach of these best practices and continue to use the guidelines framework with these selected states to guide full-scale statewide changes throughout the child welfare, treatment, and court systems.
This program is authorized by 42 U.S.C. 3797u et seq., which requires that any FDC that this program funds prohibit participation by violent offenders. For this solicitation, adult violent offender means a person who (1) is charged with or convicted of an offense that is punishable by a term of imprisonment exceeding 1 year, during the course of which (a) the person carried, possessed, or used a firearm or dangerous weapon, (b) the person caused the death of or serious bodily injury to another person, or (c) the person used force against another person without regard to whether any of the circumstances described above are an element of the offense or conduct of which or for which the person is charged or convicted; or (2) has one or more prior convictions for a felony crime of violence involving the use or attempted use of force against a person with the intent to cause death or serious bodily harm (42 U.S.C. 3797u- 2). Juvenile violent offender means a juvenile who has been convicted of, or adjudicated delinquent for, a felony-level offense that (1) has as an element the use, attempted use, or threatened use of physical force against the person or property of another, or the possession or use of a firearm or (2) by its nature, involves a substantial risk that physical force against the person or property of another may be used in the course of committing the offense (42 U.S.C. 3797u-2(b)). Funding will be immediately suspended if DOJ determines that violent offenders are participating in any program funded under this solicitation.
FDCs must also meet the requirements of 42 USC 3797u (a). The requirements include:
1. Continuing judicial supervision over juveniles, and other individuals under the jurisdiction of the court, with substance abuse problems who are not violent offenders.
2. Coordination with the appropriate state or local prosecutor.
3. The integrated administration of other sanctions and services, which shall include:
- Mandatory periodic testing for the use of controlled substances or other addictive substances during any period of supervised release or probation for each participant.
- Substance abuse treatment for each participant.
- Diversion, probation, or other supervised release involving the possibility of prosecution, confinement, or incarceration based on noncompliance with program requirements or failure to show satisfactory progress.
- Offender management and aftercare services such as relapse prevention, health care, education, vocational training, job placement, housing placement, and child care or other family support services for each participant who requires such services.
- Payment, in whole or in part, by the offender for treatment costs, to the extent practicable, such as costs for uranalysis or counseling.
- Payment, in whole or in part, by the offender, of restitution, to the extent practicable, to either a victim of the offender’s offense or to a restitution or similar victim support fund.
While the Drug Court Discretionary Grant Program authorizing statute requires participant payments for treatment and restitution (see above), it does not allow imposing a fee on a client that would interfere with the client’s rehabilitation. Applicants should include in their application provisions for determining if these costs would interfere with a client’s rehabilitation or graduation. Furthermore, the authorizing statute, 42 U.S.C.3797u(c) (1), requires mandatory periodic drug testing that is accurate and practicable. Each participant must be tested for every controlled substance that the participant has been known to abuse and for any that the court may require. The FDC must impose graduated sanctions that increase punitive measures, therapeutic measures, or both whenever a participant fails a drug test.
Such sanctions and measures may include, but are not limited to, one or more of the following:
• Detoxification treatment.
• Residential treatment.
• Increased time in the program.
• Termination from the program.
• Increased drug screening requirements.
• Increased court appearances.
• Increased counseling.
• Increased supervision.
• Electronic monitoring.
• In-home restriction.
• Community service.
• Family counseling.
• Anger management classes.”
Excerpted from OMB No. 1121-0329 OJJDP FY 2017 Family Drug Court Statewide System Reform Implementation