Project Profile: Family Treatment Court Best Practices

Oklahoma Multi-Site Family Treatment Court Model Standards Study

Principal Investigator: Margaret Lloyd, UConn School of Social Work

Key Partners: The OKMSS will be conducted in partnership with the Oklahoma Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services, the Oklahoma Department of Human Services, Oklahoma Family Drug Courts, and the Biomedical and Behavioral Methodology Core of the University of Oklahoma Medical Center.

Why this Study?
Twenty-five years of family treatment court research (FTC) reveals that families in FTCs experience a range of positive outcomes compared to traditional child welfare courts. These findings, together with literature from related fields, led to the release of the Family Treatment Court Best Practice Standards in 2019. Although it is anticipated that adherence to these standards will result in higher rates of substance use treatment completion and reunification, no studies have assessed how they are being implemented, nor the relationship between the Standards, family risk and need characteristics, and key outcomes.

The purpose of the study is to significantly advance Family Treatment Court implementation research. To achieve this purpose, the specific goals of the Study are to:

  1.  develop an instrument to measure implementation of the Standards at organizational and individual levels,
  2.  test the association between Standards implementation and FTC outcomes,
  3.  clarify the FTC target population, and
  4.  analyze cost effectiveness of Standard implementation.

“It is our hope that by developing and testing a Standards Implementation measure, we can enable states, counties, and individual court programs to monitor and improve family treatment court practice. And by doing so, we can increase the numbers of reunited parents and children in safe, supportive, and addiction-free homes,” says P.I. Margaret Lloyd.

Proposed Approach
The rigorous quasi-experimental study will use an accepted implementation scale, surveys, propensity score matching, proportional hazards modeling, and economic analysis.

Planned Deliverables
Of great importance to FTC policy and practice, this study will yield:

  1.  practice-friendly measurement tools for assessing Best Practice Standards fidelity,
  2.  empirical evidence of Best Practice Standards effectiveness and FTC target population, and
  3.  robust cost analysis.