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What is the Parenting in Recovery/ Family Drug Treatment Court?

Parenting in Recovery/ Family Drug Treatment Court (PIR/FDTC) was created for parents who are suffering from a Substance Use Disorder (SUD) and are involved in the Child Protective Services Civil Court system of Travis County

The goal of PIR/FDTC is to maintain children in the care of their parents while they begin the journey of recovery from their SUD and develop the skills and ability to safely parent their children. This focus of support and accountability for the parents and their children is to promote the goal of stopping the cycle of abuse and neglect and to promote strong mental health for the next generation.

Participants’ average length of participation in PIR/FDTC is 12-18 months, during which time they engage in programs, services, and activities that challenge, encourage, and help guide them to recovery from substance dependence, maintain or regain custody of their children, and improve quality of life for themselves, their children, and their families.

PIR/FDTC, in collaboration with its community partners, offers the following supports and services for participants and their families:

  • Inpatient & outpatient substance abuse treatment
  • Psychiatric & psychological evaluation & care
  • Individual, child & family counseling
  • Collaborative case management with program partners
  • One-on-one parenting skills training
  • One-on-one recovery skills training
  • Supportive transitional & permanent housing
  • Child-care assistance
  • Mental health services
  • Medical, dental, eye care, & pharmacy services
  • Educational & employment support
  • Social, emotional, & developmental assessment of, and treatment for, children of all ages
  • Comprehensive treatment plan to meet all medical, developmental, educational, and psychological needs of the children
  • Specialized services for children Concrete services for children such as limited assistance to purchase furniture, diapers, formula, and other household needs

PIR/FDTC participants are held accountable throughout the program through the use of frequent judicial supervision in the form of weekly drug court hearings. Accountability and the ongoing relationship with the Judge is an integral part of the program. The presiding Judge for the PIR/FDTC is the Honourable Aurora Martinez Jones, Presiding Judge of 126th Judicial District Court of Travis County.

The PIR/FDTC program consists of Four Phases, designed to last a total of approximately 12-18 months. Parents who agree to participate in the PIR/FDTC program may advance through the phases based on phase advancement criteria and written requests to move to the next phase. A parent must have successfully completed all four phases prior to commencement from the PIR/FDTC program.

The PIR/FDTC program is designed to be a non-adversarial approach. It is the goal of the PIR/FDTC team that the participants will view the team as a resource and an additional support to help them with their lifetime goal of sobriety, continued recovery and safely parenting their children. All members of the PIR/FDTC team focus on building healthy and respectful relationships with the participants, to promote the empowerment of the participants to continue similar positive relationships in the future.


Who is eligible for Travis County Family Drug Treatment Court?

Parenting in Recovery/Travis County Family Drug Treatment Court (PIR/TCFDTC) participants are Travis County residents who have been identified by the Texas Department of Family & Protective Services, Child Protective Services (CPS) as exhibiting symptoms of substance use disorders that impact the care and well-being of their young children (0-5).

Eligibility for PIR/FDTC starts with the nature of the CPS referral, which may occur under any of the following three basic admission criteria:

  • A mother gives birth to a baby who tests positive for drugs.
  • A mother is pregnant and tests positive for drugs and has at least one child under age five in the home.
  • A parent is using drugs and has at least one child under age five in the home.
  • Parent presents with a substance use disorder.
  • Parent is not in acute distress due to a mental health diagnosis such that it would preclude him/her from actively participating in substance abuse treatment.
  • The residence and caretaking plan of the children fit into one or more of the following categories:
    • Children are with mother and will accompany her into treatment.
    • Children are with relatives or fictive kin in Travis or a contiguous county.
  • Parent demonstrates his/her willingness to participate in PIR/FDTC by entering substance abuse treatment and enrolling in PIR/FDTC.

Please Note: In order for a parent to be considered for the Family Drug Treatment Court (PIR/FDTC) program, the parent must be the respondent of a civil suit filed by the District Attorney’s Office representing the Department of Family and Protective Services (Child Protective Services). Parents must also be part of a Court Ordered Services case (where the Department seeks only for the Court to order the parent(s) to comply with requested Court orders). Cases that are filed initially as Temporary Managing Conservatorship cases (where the Department seeks custody of the subject child(ren)) may not be eligible for PIR/FDTC participation.

Who are the partners and team members of the Parenting in Recovery/ Family Drug Treatment Court?

PIR/FDTC brings together a large coalition of public agencies and community service providers who cooperatively provide a flexible, comprehensive continuum of services to parents, children, and families who are involved in the state child welfare system as a result of maternal drug and/or alcohol dependence.

The PIR/FDTC partnership is comprised of the following entities:

  • Travis County Health & Human Services—administrative oversight & support
  • Texas Department of Family & Protective Services, Child Protective Services
  • Austin Recovery Network—substance abuse treatment program
  • Foundation Communities—housing supports
  • Travis County District Attorney’s Office
  • Texas Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA)—child advocates
  • Travis County Court Appointed Family Advocates (CAFA)—parent attorneys
  • The Travis County Office of Child Representation—children’s attorneys
  • Austin Travis County Integral Care—administrative support and children’s therapists
  • Communities for Recovery—peer recovery coaching
  • SAFE—domestic & family violence counseling & supports
  • Manos de Cristo—dental care
  • Austin Oxford Houses—transitional sober living
  • MedSavers Pharmacy—prescription medications
  • PA Scot Flynn—psychiatry
  • Workforce Solutions–Capital Area—employment programs
  • TSO—optometry

Contact & Resources

For more information about the program, please contact:

Leigh Mathews Rodriguez, Associate Judge
Office of the District Judges
PO Box 1748
Austin, TX 78767

Brook Son, MSSW – Office of Children Services Program Administrator, PIR/FDTC
(512) 854-4272
(737) 931-7835
[email protected]

Michelle Kimbrough, LCSW – PIR/FDTC Program Manager
(512) 854-5903
(737) 931-7826 - cell
[email protected]

Amber Middleton, LMSW– PIR/FDTC Court Coordinator
(512) 854-5008
(737) 228-5537 - cell
[email protected]

For more information about drug courts and the interaction between child welfare and substance abuse, please consult the following websites:

National Association of Drug Court Professionals; National Drug Court Institute; National Center for DWI Courts; National Drug Court Resource Center

Children and Family Futures (online training and research related to Child Welfare and Substance Abuse Issues)

Texas Association of Specialty Courts

Family Drug Court Community of Learning- information exchange and blogging among drug court professionals

Center for Court Innovation: Statewide Drug Court Training and Technical Assistance- webinars

National Center for Substance Abuse and Child Welfare- trainings, tutorials, and fact sheets

Family Drug Court Learning Academy Webinars (series of webinars on Family Drug Court issues from June 2010 to present on variety of topics):


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