Six-Month Behavioral Health Outcomes Among Family Dependency Treatment Court Participants

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substance abuse, child welfare, dependency courts, family dependency treatment courts

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Significant substance abuse problems are prevalent in families involved with the child welfare system. Family Dependency Treatment Courts (FDTCs) are partnerships among the child welfare, court, and treatment systems designed for substance-abusing parents whose children are removed from the home primarily due to abuse and/or neglect. FDTCs enable the court to mandate treatment and make child reunification dependent on treatment compliance. This study evaluated 83 individuals during the first 6 months of their participation in a FDTC program. Participants included substance-abusing parents involved in the child welfare system who were referred to FDTC. Results indicated statistically significant reductions in past-month substance use, anxiety, and depression as well as high rates of therapeutic alliance. These findings, indicating significant reductions in the frequency of parental drug and alcohol use, replicate earlier FDTC evaluations. Assuming continuing evidence of cost savings, this unique judicial and treatment approach will likely continue to spread across the United States.

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Citation / Publisher Attribution

Journal of Public Child Welfare, v. 6, issue 3, p. 313-329