Family treatment courts, also known as family drug courts and dependency drug courts, utilize a multidisciplinary, collaborative approach to serve parents and families who enter the child welfare system due to parental substance use disorders. Resources on this page present research on the benefits of family treatment courts.
Family Drug Court Annotated Bibliography (PDF - 1,484 KB)
Children and Family Futures (2018)
Lists research on the family drug court model, including cost savings, evaluation outcomes, and judicial perspectives.
Family Drug Court Learning Academy
Children and Family Futures
Provides web-based trainings to support child welfare workers in assessing needs, initiating strategic planning, implementing program improvements, evaluating performance, and sustaining family drug courts.
Family Drug Courts (PDF - 362 KB)
U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (2016)
Presents an overview of family drug courts, including the target population for these courts, goals, and outcomes.
Family Drug Court Tutorials
National Family Drug Court TTA Program
Provides an overview of the family drug court model and operation through five modules, which contain resources, case studies, interactive questions, and other information.
Family Drug Treatment Courts
Justice Speakers Institute
Provides an overview of family drug treatment courts.
Family Treatment Court Best Practice Standards (PDF - 20,744)
Center for Children and Family Futures & National Association of Drug Court Professionals (2019)
Provides practitioners with a shared definition of the elements required in quality practice in family treatment court and establishes a common language across various systems and programs that work with families.
Family Treatment Court Planning Guide (PDF - 2,210 KB)
National Drug Court Institute & Center for Children and Family Futures (2018)
Explores the history of family treatment courts, the services they provide, why they are needed, and more. This guide also explains how a family treatment court can be launched in a jurisdiction.
Leading Change Brief Series: Key Lessons to Empower State and Local Leaders Seeking to Improve Systems Serving Families in the Child Welfare System Affected by Substance Use Disorders
Children and Family Futures
Presents the experiences of six grantees through three briefs that include considerations and challenges for those who want to lead systems change in their States and communities. The first brief provides context of the current state of family treatment courts, an overview of the Statewide System Improvement Program initiative, and opportunities for systems change; the second focuses on State leadership toward change; and the third is focused on leadership and change at the local level.
Plans of Safe Care: An Issue Brief for Judicial Officers (PDF - 409 KB)
National Quality Improvement Center for Collaborative Community Court Teams & National Center for State Courts (2020)
Provides guidance to judicial officers on implementing plans of safe care to address the health needs of substance-exposed infants and their families.
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Child Welfare Information Gateway
Download (PDF - 834KB)
Reasonable and Active Efforts, and Substance Use Disorders: A Toolkit for Professionals Working With Families In or At Risk of Entering the Child Welfare System (PDF - 378 KB)
National Quality Improvement Center for Collaborative Community Court Teams & American Bar Association, Center on Children and the Law (2020)
Provides information for legal professionals about the reasonable and active efforts requirements, examples of how to meet those standards, and ways to use reasonable efforts to support families affected by substance use disorders.
Seven Common Ingredients for Family Treatment Courts
Child Law Practice Today, May/June
Highlights research on the seven common ingredients to heal families impacted by substance use disorders and discusses family treatment courts as a solution to help parents receive quality treatment and reunify with their children. The article also offers questions for child welfare and court professionals to ask to effectively advocate for reasonable services.
Words Matter: How Language Choice Can Reduce Stigma (PDF - 332 KB)
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, Center for the Application of Prevention Technologies (2017)
Examines the role of language in perpetuating substance use disorder stigma and steps for ensuring the language used by child welfare professionals is positive, productive, and inclusive.