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Family Treatment Courts

What is Family Treatment Court?

Family Treatment Court (FTC) was created to address the poor outcomes of traditional reunification with caregivers who struggle with substance use issues and have had their child(ren) placed in custody of Oklahoma’s Department of Human Services (DHS).

The mission of Family Treatment Court is to increase reunification and treatment completion.


Addressing the Problem


An annual average of 8.7 million U.S. children aged 17 or younger live in households with at least one parent who had a substance use disorder (SUD).

FTC strives to ensure the safety and well-being of children and to offer caregivers a viable option to reunify in a timely manner. Through collaboration among the Oklahoma Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services (ODMHSAS), county juvenile court systems, treatment and service providers, and DHS, FTC seeks to provide safe environments for children with intensive judicial monitoring and interventions to treat caregivers’ substance use disorders and other co-occurring risk factors.

A meta-analysis of 16 evaluations examining outcomes found that families that participated in an FTC were two times more likely to reunify than families receiving conventional services.  (Zhang, Huang, Wu, Li, and Liu, 2019)

Family Treatment Court Standards

  • Provide practitioners with a shared definition of the elements required in quality practice​
  • Establish a common language across various systems and programs that work with families ​
  • Are the foundation for FTC adoption of best practices in child welfare, treatment, the courts, and child and family well-being​

FTC draws on best practices from the treatment court model, deprived court system, and child welfare services to effectively manage cases within Adoption and Safe Families Act (ASFA) mandates. In this way, the FTC ensures the best interests of children while providing necessary services to caregivers. Without these intensive services, the parents would risk losing custody of their children and put future children at risk (NIDA Family Treatment Court Planning Guide, 2018).

Research That Works

Literature indicates that Family Treatment Courts outperform traditional child welfare courts on several indicators: 

  • More time spent in treatment 
  • More likely to complete treatment 
  • Children are more likely to reunify 
Early identification of needs and treatment significantly improve outcomes.


The faster someone begins treatment, the more likely they are to be retained in treatment longer.

  • Universal screening – States that mandate a universal screener, such as the UNCOPE, document alcohol and other drug use (AOD) as a reason for removal at much higher rates than states that do not (~60% vs 10%). (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services,   Administration for Children and Families, & Administration on Children, Youth and Families, Children’s Bureau, 2018)
  • Assessment – Best practice suggests individuals should be referred for assessment within 24-48 hours of identification.
  • Treatment initiation – Results are best when treatment begins no later than 7-10 days after identification.

 

The longer someone stays in treatment, the more likely they are to attain stable recovery and be reunified with their children.

  • Time in treatment – outcomes are best when individuals with a moderate to severe substance use disorder (SUD) remain engaged in treatment for a minimum of 90 days and remain engaged in community recovery supports for a year or longer (SUD is a chronic disease requiring on-going maintenance).
  • Retention and completion of treatment have been found to be the strongest predictors of reunification with children for parents with substance use disorders.  (Green, Rockhill, & Furrer, 2007; Marsh, Smith, & Bruni, 2010).
Early identification of needs and treatment significantly improve outcomes.

The faster someone begins treatment, the more likely they are to be retained in treatment longer.

  • Universal screening – States that mandate a universal screener, such as the UNCOPE, document alcohol and other drug use (AOD) as a reason for removal at much higher rates than states that do not (~60% vs 10%). (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services,   Administration for Children and Families, & Administration on Children, Youth and Families, Children’s Bureau, 2018)
  • Assessment – Best practice suggests individuals should be referred for assessment within 24-48 hours of identification.
  • Treatment initiation – Results are best when treatment begins no later than 7-10 days after identification.
     

The longer someone stays in treatment, the more likely they are to attain stable recovery and be reunified with their children.

  • Time in treatment – outcomes are best when individuals with a moderate to severe substance use disorder (SUD) remain engaged in treatment for a minimum of 90 days and remain engaged in community recovery supports for a year or longer (SUD is a chronic disease requiring on-going maintenance).
  • Retention and completion of treatment have been found to be the strongest predictors of reunification with children for parents with substance use disorders.  (Green, Rockhill, & Furrer, 2007; Marsh, Smith, & Bruni, 2010).
Increased Hearing Frequency:
  • Traditional Deprived Docket may have review hearings every 90 to 120 days​
  • Family Treatment Court hearings are initially weekly to bi-weekly then can move to monthly as the case progresses

 

Oklahoma County Enhancement Grant Early Findings:​

  • OK County FTC currently being researched as part of 5-year SAMHSA Service Enhancement Grant​
  • Evaluation plan includes develop rigorous comparison group to understand the program’s impact on child, parent, and family outcomes
     

Family treatment court is more effective than “regular” deprived case processing at:

  • Getting people into treatment faster
  • Retaining people in treatment
  • Supporting completion of treatment
  • Reunifying families
  • Reducing children’s time out of home
  • Not having children return to care (re-occurrence of neglect or abuse)
    (Bruns, Pullmann, Weathers, Wirschem, & Murphy, 2012; Green, Furrer, Worcel, Burrus, & Finigan, 2007; Lloyd, 2015)

Family Treatment Court Team

County Coordinator Email Address Phone

Custer/Washita

Kelly Burnett

603 B. St. Rm. 108

Arapaho, OK 73620

(580) 515-9001

Kay

Carmon Roquemore

1904 N. Union St. STE 103
Ponca City, OK 74601

 

(580) 749-4178

Okmulgee

Christa Johnson

323 W 6th St Okmulgee, OK 74447

(918) 756-9250

Oklahoma

Kayce Raines

5905 N Classen Ct. OKC, OK 73118

(405) 482-8082

Tulsa

Jordan Bilby

218 W. 6th St.

Tulsa, OK 74119

(918) 596-4566

Cleveland

Jaime Welbourne
Karen Berry

200 S. Peters

Norman, OK 73069

(405) 366-0641


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