Principles and Strategies for FamilyTreatment ProgramsThe DC Family Policy Seminar has developed alist of key model program principles and strategiesfor successful family-oriented programs: •The program must be family-focused, withsome services designed to focus on theparent’s needs, others on the child’s medicaland developmental needs, and others on theparent-child relationship. Even when it isnecessary to remove the child from the
parent’s care at least temporarily, the parentstill needs services to help regain the child(or release the child for adoption) The needis also great for preventive services to helpthe mother avoid further exposing any chil-dren to drugs.•Programs must operate with a broad defini-tion of family. Relatives (usually the grand-mother) often share responsibility for thechild, or will take over the care totally whenthe parent is incapable of doing so. Thesecaregiving relatives need to be involved inservices to help both the parent and child.“Significant others” living with the motheror father of the child may also need to beinvolved. •Services also need to be provided for fosterparents, both to enable them to meet thespecial needs of drug-exposed babies andchildren and to help encourage mutuallysupportive relationships between the biolog-ical parent(s) and foster parent.•Programs must be flexible to offer a range ofservices with varying levels of intensity,since some parents are not as seriously trou-bled or in need as others.•Close coordination must take place betweenthe various agencies and service systemsserving this population (namely, health care,protective services, social services, and thecourts). Some communities have accom-plished this through establishing commu-nity coordinating councils with broad repre-sentation from a range of services in orderto forge various interservice agreements. Thelead program must develop good liaisonswith community agencies that can provideparents with referrals to specific servicessuch as employment, training, and housingservices.•Access to services must be simplified. Ahighly desirable program model is the “one-stop” services center, where many servicesare located under one roof.7•Programs should include both home-basedand center-based components. Home-basedcomponents are needed to make a thoroughassessment of the patterns of substanceabuse and the relative risk to the child;explore the resources available within theextended family and community; anddevelop supportive relationships in order tobenefit from these resources. Center-basedcomponents are needed to draw these par-ents out of their social isolation, to intro-duce structure and routine into their lives,and to provide peer support and a familiar,secure place to turn during troubled times.