Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Dr. Rivera evaluates Oregon program for families

Dr. Marny Rivera, Justice faculty, attended a Family Connection Grantee meeting in April in Bethesda, MD as part of her ongoing evaluation of the Family Connections Program in Jackson County, Oregon. The evaluation is a 3-year study. The mission of the Family Connection Grant Program is to help children who are in, or at risk of entering, foster care to reconnect with family members.

The Oregon program is administered by OnTrack, Inc., a local provider, and offers comprehensive services to expedite reunification of families where children have had to be removed temporarily because of safety threats caused by or contributed to by parental substance abuse. A variety of services are provided including residential family treatment and case management to assist families in overcoming barriers to permanency and self-sufficiency. OnTrack, Inc. works in partnership with Oregon Child Welfare, Jackson County Circuit Courts, Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA), and the Family Nurturing Center.

The evaluation by Dr. Rivera includes comparing child welfare outcomes for a control group of families whose cases have been handled in the standard way, rather than by diversion to this type of family treatment. This program is funded by a grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children & Families.