Reno Family Drug Court

About This Program

Target Population: Parents whose children have been placed within the child welfare system, due to child abuse and/or neglect related to substance abuse

For children/adolescents ages: 0 – 18

For parents/caregivers of children ages: 0 – 18

Program Overview

The Reno Family Drug Court created in 1994, was the first family drug court in the United States. Through a collaborative effort, the Reno Family Drug Court seeks to ensure children have a safe and nurturing environment by focusing on both healthy and sober parenting and permanency planning through family reunification.

The Reno Family Drug Court deals primarily with poly-substance abuse issues and works with a high percentage of co-occurring disorders that are mental health related.

Program Goals

The program representative did not provide information about the program’s goals.

Logic Model

The program representative did not provide information about a Logic Model for Reno Family Drug Court.

Essential Components

The essential components of Reno Family Drug Court include:

  • Alcohol and other drug treatment services integrated with justice system case processing
  • The prosecution and defense council promote public safety while protecting parent's due process rights by using a non-adversarial approach
  • Parent provided access to a continuum of alcohol, drug, and other related treatment and rehabilitation services
  • Abstinence monitored by conducting random alcohol or drug tests twice a week
  • Parent attends both the substance abuse treatment program and the child welfare case plan appointments as scheduled and appears before the Reno Family Drug Court Judge every other week; bi-monthly written reports provided to the Court for each participant
  • Two provider agencies provide a continuum of inpatient and outpatient services; individualized treatment which may include individual and group counseling, parenting education, vocational rehabilitation, assistance with job searches, and housing; mental health assessments and evaluations for the children ordered and the children's progress with treatment monitored by court.
  • Partnerships exist among Reno Family Drug Courts, public agencies, and community-based organizations to enhance the Reno Family Drug Court program

Program Delivery

Child/Adolescent Services

Reno Family Drug Court directly provides services to children/adolescents and addresses the following:

  • Mental health issues

Parent/Caregiver Services

Reno Family Drug Court directly provides services to parents/caregivers and addresses the following:

  • Parental substance abuse and co-occurring mental health issues

Recommended Intensity:

Parents meet with the family court judge two times per month.

Recommended Duration:

The court session generally lasts 2 to 2½ hours. The minimum duration of the program is one year.


Reno Family Drug Court includes a homework component:

Homework is assigned on a case-by-case basis, usually as a sanction for relapse or lack of compliance with treatment.

Resources Needed to Run Program

The typical resources for implementing the program are:

  • A room to hold the multi-disciplinary staffing session prior to court.

Manuals and Training

Prerequisite/Minimum Provider Qualifications

There are a variety of treatment professionals and social workers involved in the program, both at the Bachelor's and Master's levels. Interns are also utilized. The program Judge is assigned by the presiding Judge based on experience and interest.

Manual Information

There is a manual that describes how to deliver this program.

Training Information

There is training available for this program.

Training Contact:
  • The National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges
Training Type/Location:

The training is typically provided in a host city or Reno, with visits to the Reno program for observation and meetings with the Reno program team.

Number of days/hours:

Training is periodically available in different lengths of time depending upon available funding.

Relevant Published, Peer-Reviewed Research

Currently, there are no published, peer-reviewed research studies for Reno Family Drug Court.

Additional References

No reference materials are currently available for Reno Family Drug Court.

Contact Information

James Popovich
Phone: (775) 325-6769
Fax: (775) 328-3131

Date Research Evidence Last Reviewed by CEBC: February 2015

Date Program Content Last Reviewed by Program Staff: August 2006

Date Program Originally Loaded onto CEBC: August 2006