270185 Effects of a family dependency treatment court on child welfare reunification, time to permanency and re-entry rates

Tuesday, October 30, 2012 : 11:10 AM - 11:30 AM

Emmeline Chuang, PhD , Graduate School of Public Health, Division of Health Management and Policy, San Diego, CA
Kathleen Moore, PhD , Department of Mental Health Law & Policy, University of South Florida, Tampa
Blake Barrett, MSPH , Mental Health Law & Policy, University of South Florida, Tampa
M. Scott Young, PhD , Department of Mental Health Law and Policy, University of South Florida, Tampa, FL
Background: Family dependency treatment courts (FDTCs) have recently emerged as an innovative model for addressing the needs of families involved with the child welfare system and affected by substance use disorders. Method: A quasi-experimental research design was utilized to examine whether FDTC participation was associated with improved child welfare outcomes. Propensity score modeling was used to match FDTC participants (N = 95) with control cases (N = 424) from a demographically and geographically similar county with no FDTC program. Matching variables included demographic characteristics and caregiver criminal history. Child welfare outcomes included: 1) reunification (yes/no), 2) time to permanency (number of days it took to achieve final case disposition) and 3) re-entry into care in the child welfare system within 12 months after permanency was achieved (yes/no). Results: Participation in the FDTC program was significantly associated with: 1) increased odds of caregiver-child reunification (OR = 2.12, p<0.05), 2) decreased odds that children would re-enter care within twelve months after achieving permanency (OR = 0.12, p<0.01), and 3) longer time to permanency (IRR = 1.29, p<0.01). Conclusions: Findings indicate that FDTC participation increased the likelihood of reunification and decreased the odds that children would re-enter the child welfare system within 12 months of achieving permanency. Despite this, the increased time to permanency in the FDTC program may be more beneficial for families and less costly in the long-term by decreasing the need for re-entry into care in the child welfare system.

Learning Areas:
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
1)Describe how family dependency treatment courts differ from typical child welfare case processing in the justice system. 2)Identify preliminary evidence supporting the effectiveness of family dependency treatment courts to improve child welfare outcomes as compared to typical child welfare case processing.

Keywords: Criminal Justice, Substance Abuse Treatment

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have worked on the evaluation team of numerous federally-funded grants focusing on the delivery of community-based mental health and substance abuse treatment for persons with behavioral health disorders involved with the criminal justice system.
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.