Dependency Drug Court: A Collaborative Approach for Mothers and Newborns. A Multidisciplinary Treatment Model That Exemplifies The Linkages Philosophy Presented by Susan Feldman M.S. Carol Hughes M.S.W., LCSW and Susana Jehle B.A.
A Multidisciplinary Treatment Model That Exemplifies The Linkages Philosophy
Presented by Susan Feldman M.S.
Carol Hughes M.S.W., LCSW
and Susana Jehle B.A.
In 2000 Ventura County introduced Dependency Drug Court (DDC) to the Dependency Court System.
Initially Drug Court was designed to serve Family Maintenance Cases specifically for mothers and their newborn children. The Drug Court Program has since expanded to include children up to 3 years of age, some siblings and their mothers.
Typically a family is offered 12 months of intensive services through the Drug Court Program.
The Drug Court team has always been a collaborative approach, but has expanded over the years. We now have a multidisciplinary team and we are part of the Linkages Project in Ventura County.
* A Public Health Nurse works closely with the mother and child, providing assessment, screening, education, and referrals for medical and community resources.
* Having weekly contact with the mother and child promotes maternal and infant bonding and healthy medical follow up for both mother and child.
* A Public Health Nurse also provides instruction to parents in the areas of child development, parenting, and infant massage
AOD treatment providers put a strong emphasis on parenting skills, including reinforcement of the parent-infant bond, teaching practical methods to improve parents responsiveness to their infant’s needs. CFS has contracted with a local community-based agency, Aspira, to provide in home parent aides to women participating in DDC.
Adjunctive services are provided to address domestic/family violence issues which are highly prevalent with DDC participants. Residential treatment provides groups on site. Outpatient treatment providers utilize community based domestic violence programs to provide support and advocacy.
Trauma issues are addressed both individually and in group settings. “Safe Coping” groups in residential treatment help women learn effective coping skills to address ongoing trauma related issues. Grief issues, boundary setting and communication skills building is addressed in a relational context. Contracted services also provides individual and family therapy services for DDC clients.
“Sandy” is a 25 year old Hispanic female. Sandy’s son, David, was born at 35 weeks gestation (5 weeks premature). David tested positive for Methamphetamine. Sandy has one other child, (Julia 8yrs old) who is in the custody of the maternal grandmother. David is experiencing withdrawal symptoms, including fussiness, poor feeding, and jitteriness. After 3 weeks of being hospitalized in the NICU, David will be placed with Sandy. Sandy entered intensive women’s residential treatment after the birth of David, per the recommendation of Children and Family Services.
“Monica” is a 38 year old Caucasian female. Monica’s daughter, Sarah was born at 32 weeks gestation, testing positive for Methadone and benzodiazepine. Monica received no prenatal care during her pregnancy, and reported that she did not realize she was pregnant until she delivered her child. This is Monica’s only child. Monica reports that she has been on Methadone for 2 years. Monica reports that she was injured in a car accident 5 years ago. For 3 years Monica took Vicodin for her pain. She went on Methadone to manage her Vicodin dependency. Monica has a history of “ER Hopping” and “Doctor Shopping”. Monica has no current prescription for benzodiazepine. Monica is initially very resistant to going into a substance abuse treatment program, as she maintains she does not have a drug problem, rather was on medication to manage her chronic pain.
Monica’s daughter, “Sarah” was born very premature, with a low birth weight, and is experiencing severe withdrawal and medical complications. Sarah will be hospitalized for 6 weeks in the NICU. During this hospitalization she will need to gain an appropriate amount of weight, demonstrate that she can feed through a nipple, completely withdraw off all medications, and demonstrate that she is medically stable.