241409 Addressing the Social Determinants of Behavioral Change among Parents Participating in Family Drug Court

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Reinette Arnold, LMSW , Program Evaluation Research Division, Messages of Empowerment Productions, Atlanta, GA
Quinn Gentry, MBA, PhD , Urban Health Institute, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD
Cheron Crouch, LPC , Juvenile Justic Fund, Atlanta, GA
The social determinants of behavioral change among parents experiencing substance abuse has a profound impact on process and outcome indicators of compliance for family drug court participants. However, family drug courts often lack resources and supportive services to increase parents' chances of alleviating social and structural issues that impede their readiness for change, and ability to take action in pursuing family reunification.

This study describes how an urban-based family drug court program partners with community-based service providers through an initiative known as "Project Ready, Set, Go!" to address the social and structural barriers that impact families struggling with substance abuse. Since 2008, approximately 97 families have received assistance in addressing the social determinants of behavior change, including housing support, employment, and parental skills-building. Supportive services and other life skills building groups among this population has resulted in a 44% drug court graduation rate (compared to a 39% national average), with a third of those individuals continuing to receive aftercare support. Given the low-level of readiness among this sub-population of substance abusing parents, court-ordered compliances coupled with the supportive services has increased these parents' opportunities and willingness to pursue family reunification as an ultimate goal. This project has implications for how to motivate and engage the hardest to reach and retain parents whom use drugs and place their children at risk for abuse and neglect. Further analysis is needed to better understand the gaps in services that limit some parents' ability to comply with family drug court orders.

Learning Areas:
Administer health education strategies, interventions and programs
Implementation of health education strategies, interventions and programs
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs

Learning Objectives:
Identify the social and stuctural determinants that impact drug treatment outcomes for women and families Examine strategies for addressing social and structural determinants in ways that lead to better drug treatment outcomes for women and families

Keywords: Drug Abuse Treatment, Access and Services

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I serve as the program evaluator for Project Ready, Set, Go where I monitor the process and outcome indicators.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.