California Court Giving Drug-Addicted Parents a Second Chance
A unique partnership between Sacramento County’s Department of Health and Human Services, Child Protective Services and the Behavioral Health Services departments has been formed specifically to give drug-addicted parents an opportunity to get clean and keep their families together while they do so.
The Early Intervention Family Drug Court is an innovative program that seeks to balance rehabilitation with protection of the children. In the six years it’s been running, it’s having strong results in supporting families and giving those parents the accountability and support needed to stay in compliance with the family plan for reunification.
Rather than seeing their children be sent immediately into the foster care system, addicted parents are able to enter the EIFDC, where they are supervised and monitored while seeking various treatment regimens.
The six-month program, which has been in use in Sacramento for the past six years, more specifically includes monthly court sessions, random drug tests, regular group meetings, parenting classes and home visits — a rigorous plan that measures and mandates compliance.
In addition to protecting the family unit, the EIFDC has been found to be a successful cost-saving measure, estimated to save Sacramento County $7 million per year.
Several other states in the nation are experimenting with similar programs, although each program looks different and intervenes differently. The article also cites two well-known safe-child organizations with similar work and results.
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