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Practice Academy: Beyond a Program: Family Treatment Courts â€“ Collaborative Partnerships for Improved Family Outcomes
April 5 @ 2:00 pm - 3:00 pm
Proven. Positive. Effective. Family Treatment Courts (FTCs) have come a long way since beginning operations almost three decades ago. An FTC is a juvenile or family court docket for cases of child abuse or neglect in which parental substance use and often co-occurring mental health disorders are contributing factors. The first FTCs, developed in the mid-1990s, and inspired by the collaborative, multidisciplinary approach of the adult treatment court model, built upon the key components of adult treatment courts, practice experience in child welfare, and direction from model dependency court guidelines.
Over the past three decades, FTC practitioners have witnessed substantial growth in research about what works in dependency court processing, child welfare practice, substance use and mental health disorder treatment, parent-child bonding, behavior modification, and family-centered services and treatment. Model FTCs have evolved beyond a program to become a family-centered collaborative effort that engages, supports, and serves children, parents, and families. They work to strengthen relationships between parents and their children; repair harm caused by child abuse, neglect, and SUDs; and address the issues that brought the family into the child welfare system. When implemented according to best practices, FTCs improve policy and practice for all families in the system affected by SUDs, not just those participating in the FTC. FTCs are a catalyst for systems change.
When state or local leaders consider whether a new FTC could better serve families, they must first: 1) gain foundational knowledge of the FTC model and Best Practice Standards, 2) learn the similarities and differences to the adult treatment court model, and 3) decide where it fits in the communityâ€™s continuum of care for families affected by SUDs.