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New Project Addresses Children Impacted by the Opioid Epidemic

The opioid epidemic has had a devastating impact on families, especially on the children of parents who abuse substances. SJI recently awarded the National Center for State Courts (NCSC) a grant to determine how state courts can best help the children who end up in the justice system because of family substance abuse.

The grant will support the efforts of the National Judicial Opioid Task Force’s (NJOTF) workgroup on Children and Families, which is working to identify and pilot innovative state court practices to help children impacted by the opioid crisis.

With the grant, pilot courts will be selected to focus on the following areas:

  • Identify early intervention court strategies to help parents with substance abuse issues who are at risk of losing custody of their children.
  • Promote evidence-based prevention, identification, and treatment for children and their parents related to Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome and Substance-Exposed Infants.
  • Reduce trauma and promote safe and timely placement of children, including the use of trauma assessment instruments, for children, especially those under five years of age.

More information will be available soon on the selection process for pilot sites.

The National Judicial Opioid Task Force (NJOTF) is a project of the Conference of Chief Justices and Conference of State Court Administrators.  The NJOTF, which is funded by SJI, consists of three workgroups: Children and Families; Civil and Criminal Justice; and Collaboration and Education.