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Fostering Attachment Treatment Court: A Family Dependency Treatment Court for Infants and Toddlers and their Parents Struggling with Addiction and Participating in Recovery

Award Information

Award #
Congressional District
Funding First Awarded
Total funding (to date)

Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2009, $496,919)

The purpose of the Family Drug Courts Program is to build the capacity of states, state and local courts, units of local government, and federally recognized Indian tribal governments to develop and establish drug courts for substance-abusing adults involved with the family dependency court as a result of child abuse and neglect issues. The program must provide services to the children of the parents in the program as well as to the parents. The program provides seed money, not long-term support. OJJDP expects successful applicants to develop and implement a sustainability plan during the grant period to continue operation of the family drug court when the grant ends. The program is authorized under 42 U.S.C. 3797u, et seq.

Fostering Attachment Treatment Court (FATC) takes a relational approach to child welfare. This family drug court, modeled on Zero To Three's 'Court Teams for Maltreated Infants', uses principles of infant/toddler brain development, secure attachment therapy, and addiction recovery treatment to help families in the dependency court system overcome addiction and reunify without subsequent court involvement. By teaching parents to communicate with their children and understand their children's needs, the court motivates them to overcome their addiction and change their behavior to 1) help their children heal from the trauma of foster care and 2) keep their children safe and their families together.

Serving families with children ages 0-5, FATC provides integrated case management between child welfare and parole and probation. FATC is a part of the dependency court but, 70% of participants also have criminal cases and are on supervision. FATC co-manages cases with a dedicated state case worker and dedicated county probation officer. Evidence-based services to families include regular judicial monitoring, residential and out-patient addiction treatment, parenting skill groups, parent-child dyadic therapy, therapeutic child classrooms, hands-on parenting labs, and regular family-based home visits. FATC's structure and community collaboration promotes accountability while incentivizing families to embrace parenting and recovery. CA/NCF

Date Created: September 17, 2009