This final report on the Idaho Pre-Treatment Program (PTP) is submitted by the Idaho Re- search and Training Center as required by the grantee, the Rocky Mountain Quality Improve- ment Center for Child Protective Services, funded by the US Department of Health and Human Services. The report covers the period of January 2003 to January 2006, the imple- mentation phase of the grant.
Background Alcohol and drug abuse, particularly methamphetamines, are major problems for parents in the public child welfare arena. It is estimated that between 40% and 80% of child maltreat- ment reports involve substance abuse. Addicted parents enter the child welfare system debili- tated by their illnesses, and typically face a variety of overwhelming problems, including pov- erty, domestic violence, co-occurring disorders, and a serious lack of basic support systems. Recovering from substance abuse addiction, while dealing with other serious life problems, takes time, resources, and patience to overcome a typical pattern of relapse. The new short- ened permanency guidelines (i.e., Adoption and Safe Families Act [ASFA]) put additional pressure on child welfare systems to help parents access substance abuse treatment in a timely manner. Historically, the substance abuse treatment and public child welfare systems have operated independently, although the population they serve overlaps. The PTP is intended to bridge this gap and, through innovative programming, increase overall participation rates in treatment and increase child safety and permanency.
Target Population Eligible families for the PTP include parents or caregivers who were referred by Child Protec- tive Services (CPS) social workers in the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare (IDHW) Regions I, III, and IV, between October 20, 2003, and November 1, 2005. To qualify for the program, parents in families that were affected by substance abuse were referred for assess- ment to the Substance Abuse Liaison (SAL) within their region. Children of these families were at home or recently placed out-of-home.
Evaluation design Although the classic experiment design with random assignment and a control group is the best way to determine causal connections between interventions and outcomes, the original designers of the proposal did not deem it feasible because of concerns that social workers would not refer families. Instead, a baseline of parent outcomes in the three regions, prior to implementation of SALs, was collected before hiring an evaluator. Unfortunately, the data collected were essentially unusable due to major inconsistencies regarding time periods, types of cases included, and types of data collected among the regions. Consequently, the evaluation design was cross-sectional, with comparisons to state and national data on outcomes. (The term parent was used; however, the program had a more inclusive enrollment, acknowledg- ing that children may be raised by people other than their parents, such as relatives with legal responsibilities. The program aimed at keeping or reunifying children with these adults.)
Idaho Pre-Treatment Program