This report presents process and outcome evaluation findings for the Marion County (Oregon) Fostering Attachment Family Treatment Court (FATC), which is a family drug court that serves substance-abusing parents of children under 9 years old at the time of referral who are at risk of not reunifying with their family.
The process evaluation found that the FATC follows many of the best practices of the 10 key components of drug courts. This includes a staff that presents a range of collaborating agencies that provide diverse and specialized treatment. The collaboration includes child welfare case workers. The judge had frequent contact with program participants, and the program collects the data necessary for evaluation and monitoring, which has been used to frame changes in policies and practices. The review of program operations resulted in four recommendations for improving program functioning: decrease the time from petition to program entry; increase participant time before the judge in status-review hearings; ensure role-specific training for new FATC judges; and ensure that all team members receive initial and ongoing training. The outcome evaluation focused on treatment duration, treatment completion, and criminal justice recidivism. In the first year of operation FATC program parents spent significantly more time in treatment than parents who did not participate in the program. Over time, however, the difference between participants and nonparticipants lessened to the point of insignificance. Perhaps the most encouraging treatment finding was that a significantly higher proportion of FATC parents had completed treatment compared with comparison-group parents across all annual time points from 2 to 4 years post-petition. FATC parents also experienced significantly fewer out-of-home adoptions and terminations of parental rights. In addition, FATC parents were re-arrested less often than the comparison group. The evaluation methodology is described. 3 tables, 7 figures, 42 references, and appended guide for use of drug court evaluation reports, sample of drug court rewards and sanctions guidelines, list of possible program responses, and data elements list