Statement of purpose Family treatment courts (FTC) are specialized courts that are meant to increase family reunification and treat substance use disorders. This intervention is targeted for parents/caregivers with child welfare cases of abuse and neglect in which substance use has been identified as a contributing factor. Although there are over 3000 drug treatment courts there are differences among them across the U.S. and little is known about the permanency of reunification among the program. Social support networks have played a large role in the recovery of substance use disorders, yet there is a gap in what kind of role these social supports play in permanency and reunification efforts in FTC’s.
Methods/Approach The two phased study includes (1) observations of FTC’s and (2) semi-structured interviews with participants and alumni of the FTC program. For phase one of the researchers will observe 12 weeks of FTC sessions and find themes within the sessions that speak to the caregiver/parent’s social support systems. Phase two of the study will require participants to complete a toxic social network survey and a social support survey in addition to participation through a semi-structured interview. Both observations and interviews will be recorded and transcribed by a third-party service. After reviewing transcripts, a codebook will be developed and used to analyze the data using Atlas t.i. Coding will be done independently and intercoder reliability will be assessed.
Results Re-occurring themes in the data analysis will inform the significance of social supports and what social supports are available to this population. Data collection is underway and preliminary study results will be available by April 2021.
Conclusions This research will inform what healthy relationships are supporting long-term recovery and appropriate parenting practices that could prevent child injury and abuse as well as increase permanency outcomes.
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