Statewide System Reform Program


 The Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP) and Children and Family Futures (CFF) announced the selection of five States who received funding under the Statewide System Reform Program (SSRP).

With over 360 Family Drug Courts (FDCs) nationwide serving approximately 19,000 families, FDCs are a growing response to the problem of families affected by parental substance abuse and child abuse and neglect. FDCs at the individual project level have shown they are effective in achieving child welfare and treatment outcomes superior to those achieved by the core collaborative partners—child welfare, treatment and the courts—operating without key FDC components. These outcomes include higher rates of parental participation in substance abuse treatment; longer stays in substance abuse treatment; higher rates of family reunification; shorter lengths of stay in foster care for children; and less recurrence of maltreatment. This research base strongly supports the move towards institutionalizing the principles and methods of FDCs more broadly across state systems.

The purpose of this state systems reform effort is to:

  • Expand FDCs’ scale (i.e., penetration rate of the larger child welfare and substance abuse treatment systems) and scope (i.e., range of comprehensive services for families)
  • Infuse effective FDC practices to serve more families in the child welfare system affected by parental substance use disorders

CFF will provide In-Depth Technical Assistance (IDTA) to the grantees to produce a first-year plan and begin implementation in the second year. The goal of the two-year IDTA is the formation of a multi-year (5 year) strategic plan to implement state-, county- or jurisdiction-wide reform of courts’ handling of cases involving children and parents in the family court docket who are affected by substance abuse and co-occurring disorders. 

Click here for the Statewide System Reform Program Media Release

 Site Profiles 


Alabama Administrative Office of Courts


Click here for the full Alabama Administrative Office of the Courts profile

The Administrative Office of Courts in conjunction with the Department of Human Resources and the Department of Mental Health propose the implementation of the Alabama Family Drug Court Statewide System Reform project. The mission of the project is to expand the capacity of state agencies to intervene with parents with substance use and/or co-occurring conditions who are involved in the child welfare system. Project goals include: 1) initiate the Alabama Family Drug Court Statewide System Reform project through the completion of a 12-month planning, process, and 2) implement activities proposed in the systems change plan within the designated time frame. The 12-month planning phase will entail completion of a capacity assessment, resource mapping/assessment, technical assistance plan, data sharing protocols, data sharing agreement, multi-year funding plan, and systems change plan. Implementation activities will include training opportunities, web-based resource listing, selection of six mentor family drug courts and commitment for six additional communities to adopt reform strategies. All activities will be coordinated through the oversight of a Leadership Team composed of representatives from each state agency and augmented by team members (i.e., treatment providers, community based service providers, DHR legal, defense attorneys, guardian ad litems, judiciary, program coordinators) from key Family Drug Courts within the state.

New York State Unified Court system


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The New York State Unified Court System - Office of Court Administration (OCA) will conduct a planning and initial implementation program to reform Family Treatment Court practices to increase the number of families in court for reasons of child abuse or neglect who can be effectively engaged in chemical dependency services to support adult recovery while simultaneously achieving child permanency, safety and well-being. The Child Welfare Court Improvement Project (CWCIP), a unit of the OCA, will act as lead coordinating entity. Other key partners include the OCA Office of Policy and Planning, the NYS Office of Children and Family Services; and Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services and the non-profit Center for Court Innovation. A plan to implement new practices, procedures and protocols will be developed and implemented in selected pilot counties. Integrating family treatment court practices into the routine processing of child welfare matters, rather than establishing specialized courts will allow an expansion of services while minimizing the need for additional staff resources. This practical approach will encourage additional courts to embrace family treatment court practices and allow jurisdictions whose pre-existing family treatment courts ceased operation due to fiscal constraints or other programmatic barriers to explore opportunities to reopen. 


Colorado Judicial Department


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The Colorado Family Drug Court System Reform project will rely on partnerships with the Colorado State Court Administrator’s Office (SCAO), the Colorado Department of Human Services Division of Child Welfare (DCW), the Colorado Department of Human Services Division of Child Welfare (DCW), and the Office of Behavioral Health (OBH). This project will promote a shared vision to have child welfare agencies addressing recovery issues for youth and families, treatment providers addressing family reunification, and the courts addressing outcomes for youth and families. This two year planning grant will facilitate the infusion of the six elements of family treatment drug courts. The six key elements of family treatment drug courts: 1) implementing a system for identifying families; 2) earlier access to assessment and treatment; 3) increased judicial oversight; 4) increased management of recovery services and compliance; 5) appropriate responses to participant behaviors (sanctions and incentives); and 6) collaborative approaches across service systems and the court. The grant will also provide Colorado the opportunity to update the statewide substance abuse protocol that was developed in 2004.


Judicial Branch of Iowa


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The State of Iowa is uniquely poised to move family drug treatment courts and its essential components statewide. The Supreme Court has endorsed the planning process and the legislature has asked the court to lead the effort. This grant will provide the time and technical assistance to develop a collaborative approach for the court and its partners to spread the family treatment court model in all appropriate courts and to bring to scale the most effective concepts of treating families to all child welfare courts. This grant will also assist the Court, Iowa Department of Human Services, Iowa Department of Public Health, and the Governor's Office of Drug Control Policy to implement system-wide reform of working together more collaboratively to better serve children and their parents affected by substance use issues and substance use disorders. Under supervision of the Iowa Children's Justice State Council (ICJ), an ICJ Family Treatment Court Task Force will develop an implementation plan that will result in statewide system reform. Led by a seasoned partnership of state level leaders of State Court Administration, Iowa Department of Human Services, Iowa Department of Public Health and Office of Drug Control Policy, the task force of child welfare partners will address three objectives. The objectives are: (1) establish a funding and sustainability plan to support current family treatment courts and provide for expansion statewide for further family treatment courts; (2) identify and institutionalize key elements of family treatment court practices leading to statewide system reform; and (3) address the system deficit of assessing and preventing prenatal and perinatal substance exposure in children.

Supreme Court of Ohio


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The problem to be addressed by this project is the lack of access to existing family drug courts, as well as other treatment services provided through these family drug courts, to parents who are involved in multiple systems of care including Ohio's child welfare and substance abuse treatment systems. Ohio's family drug treatment courts (FDTCs) are not being utilized effectively as a resource to assist the child welfare and substance abuse treatment systems in providing services to this population. The Supreme Court of Ohio Statewide System-wide Family Drug Court will: (1) identify parents with substance abuse issues who are in the child welfare system that are not participants in the family drug courts; (2) explore the expansion of family drug courts in other counties in Ohio; (3) implement the use of a data dashboard which is aggregate data from the child welfare system; (4) enhance the case management system capacity of family drug courts in Ohio through utilization of existing vendors and developing data standards that courts may use to update their software; (5) enhance service coordination and data sharing capabilities to improve overall delivery models to promote holistic responses to behavioral health needs; and (6) improve infrastructure and capacity of key stakeholders including Supreme Court of Ohio, Department of Job and Family Services, and Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services to enhance service coordination for children and youth with multi-system needs.




This project is supported by Award No. 2016-DC-BX-K003 awarded by the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Office of Justice Programs. The opinions, findings and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Department of Justice.