A collaborative project of the Department of State Heath Services (DSHS), Office of Court Administration (OCA), Department of Family & Protective Services (DFPS), Supreme Court Permanent Judicial Commission on Children, Youth and Families (formerly the Court Improvement Project [CIP]) and Texas Court Appointed Special Advocates for Children (TX CASA), the Texas Partnership for Family Recovery seeks to reduce the number of children in out-of-home placements, shorten time in care, and increase the number of children successfully reunited with families by building and sustaining integrated and coordinated substance abuse and mental health services, policies, protocols and tools for children and families who are involved with the judicial and Child Protective Services (CPS) systems due to substance use/abuse or mental health disorders.
About the Project
In 2003, the Department of State Health Services (DSHS) took the lead in submitting a collaborative application to the National Center on Substance Abuse & Child Welfare (NCSACW) for technical assistance (TA) to integrate judicial, substance abuse and child welfare services. The other participating agencies were: Texas Court Appointed Special Advocates for Children (TX CASA), Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS), Office of Court Administration (OCA) and the Supreme Court Permanent Judicial Commission on Children, Youth and Families (formerly the Court Improvement Project [CIP]).
Funded by the Administration for Children & Families and the Center for Substance Abuse Treatment, the National Center on Substance Abuse & Child Welfare (http://ncsacw.samhsa.gov/) focuses upon systems integration and service coordination for families with substance abuse problems who are involved with the child welfare system. The NCSACW provided a preparatory year of technical assistance support. The first year is followed by a 15 month period of in-depth technical assistance (IDTA).
The Texas project, the Texas Partnership for Family Recovery, brings together three systems – judicial, child protection and substance abuse – that work together to achieve systems integration and coordination for the benefit of children and families.
An Executive Committee comprised of Assistant Commissoner, Mike Maples, DSHS; Assistant Commissioner Joyce James (DFPS), Executive Directors Carl Reynolds (OCA), Tina Amberboy, Supreme Court Permanent Judicial Commission On Children, Youth And Families (formerly the Court Improvement Project [CIP]), and Joe Gagan (TX CASA) provides project oversight. A Core Team, which is composed of staff from the participating agencies, is responsible for project organization and coordination.
The Core Team Members provide support to an Advisory Committee of representatives from each of the systems. The first Advisory Committee meeting of the Texas Partnership was held May 1-2, 2006 in Austin. At this meeting the committee created product workgroups and developed the basic plans for the upcoming 15 months of the IDTA. They plan to complete the Funding/Resources Plan by January 31, 2007; the Practice Protocol and the Stakeholder Marketing Plan by March 31, 2007; and the Cross-Systems Training Delivery Plan by April 15, 2007. All documents will be submitted to the partner agency heads for sign off. Initial implementation of each of these plans will begin during the IDTA period which will end July 31, 2007.
The Priority Population
The Advisory Committee has defined the Texas Partnership’s priority population as families, defined broadly, affected by alcohol and other drugs (AOD) involved with child protective services. The ultimate goal is to build a sustainable, family focused, integrated behavioral health service system that will strengthen, stabilize and unify families involved with the child welfare system.
The mission of the Advisory Committee is
To reduce the number of children in out of home placements, shorten time in care, and increase the number of children successfully reunited with families by building and sustaining integrated and coordinated substance abuse and mental health services, policies, protocols and tools for children and families who are involved with the judicial and Child Protective Services (CPS) systems due to substance use/abuse or mental health disorders.
To do so, the Advisory Committee has identified the following major products for completion during the IDTA
- Practice Protocols
- Evaluation, Marketing and Sustainability Plans
- Cross-Systems Training Delivery Plan
Tarrant and Nueces Counties
The Texas Partnership Advisory Committee is also working with Tarrant and Nueces Counties to support and participate in the development and implementation of a Family Drug Treatment Court. The partnership opportunities these joint efforts provide will help define, refine and define the differing roles of the state agencies, local communities, courts and direct service providers. While the in-depth TA will provide protocols, evaluation and training plans, each community will want and need to adapt the models to their own resources, cultures and goals.
The Center for Substance Abuse Treatment
To enhance and support the initiative, the Center for Substance Abuse Treatment (CSATS) is sponsoring a special training opportunity for substance abuse and mental health providers as well as for CPS, TX CASA and the judiciary. The training is on Trauma Informed Services for adults and children. This modality is evidence based and represents the Best Practice in working with mental health and substance abuse. Behavioral health providers and clinicians, CPS managers and staff, TX CASA directors and volunteers along with some judges have been invited to attend the four day workshop. The first two days of the training is designed to inform managers and clinicians on how to establish a trauma informed agency, environment and service. The third and fourth days for clinicians and will provide training in the Seeking Safety treatment model for women and on Skills-Based Intervention for Children Ages 5 to 10 years, in Families with Substance Abuse, Mental Illness, and Trauma. This training will, it is hoped, be a first step towards developing Trauma Informed Behavioral Health Services on a statewide basis.
Information on partner agencies, the foundation of the Project, and related initiatives
Issues and Goals for Technical Assistance
Challenges faced by the Project and expected Project outcomes
Deliverables and Products
Guidelines for local, regional and statewide service integration, defines parameters for cross-system collaboration in the best interest of the child’s safety and well-being and is respectful of parents rights.
For more information on the National Center on Substance Abuse and Child Welfare (NCSACW), visit http://www.ncsacw.samhsa.gov/. The NCSACW offers web based training, service integration models and current research information on families and substance abuse.
Other excellent web-based resources: