The experience of parent partners in dependency drug court

viii ABSTRACT Dependency drug courts have been implemented across the country in an effort to address parental substance abuse in the child welfare system. Additionally, peer mentors, also called Parent Partners, are now being used to assist parents who are currently involved in the child welfare system engage in services such as those offered by dependency drug courts. The research is currently limited on the effectiveness of dependency drug courts and the effectiveness of Parent Partner programs. Furthermore, the experiences of parents who have received these services have yet to be substantially explored. Building on the research available, this study examined the experiences of Parent Partners in a rural dependency drug court program. The sample consisted of three Parent Partners who previously participated in and successfully graduated from dependency drug court and are currently in a mentor role. Parent partners reported their experiences to be positive while receiving dependency drug court services while involved in the child welfare system. The program was found to be effective and the participants provided feedback on program recommendations. Parent Partners reported their positions were to provide advice, support, friendship, and leadership to parents involved in dependency drug court and had the ability to uniquely connect to parents because of their shared experiences. Parent partners additionally reported their roles as mentors provided positive benefits and reinforced their sobriety while providing support and guidance for parents who are currently navigating the child welfare system.