Pushing Forward: Examining Client Motivation in a Family Treatment Drug Court

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Aisling A. Ryan


In response to the growing drug epidemic in the 1980s, Family Treatment Drug Courts were established in the United States. Justice professionals noticed that the same parents would reappear in court for both substance dependence and child custody cases and decided there had to be a way to decrease recidivism and to increase the number of sober, stable caregivers once child custody cases closed (“History” 2014). Family Treatment Drug Courts (FTDC) are treatment programs that serve to establish permanent welfare for the child by providing comprehensive, intensive, individualized substance abuse services to the addicted parents after a child protection order has been filed by the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) (State of Maine 2011). FTDCs collaborate with the court, child welfare system, local health providers, the family, and close friends to help clients achieve sobriety and implement a permanent plan for the children. While the program does not guarantee reunification following graduation, FTDCs are more likely to result in family reunification or in a child permanency plan at a faster pace (Green et al. 2007). The first Miami-Dade Drug Court was established in 1989, and 492 more drug courts opened within the following ten years (“History” 2014). Three hundred family drug courts, in particular, are operating in the U.S. as of 2012 (Marlowe and Carey 2012).

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Ryan, A. A. . (2014). Pushing Forward: Examining Client Motivation in a Family Treatment Drug Court. Undergraduate Journal of Service Learning & Community-Based Research, 3, 1–23. https://doi.org/10.56421/ujslcbr.v3i0.157
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