Substance Abuse Family Evaluation, Recovery and Screening Project

Home | AIA Projects | AIA Project Directory | Substance Abuse Family Evaluation, Recovery and Screening Project

Substance Abuse Family Evaluation, Recovery and Screening Project

dcf-ct

505 Hudson Street
Hartford, CT 06106
Phone: (860) 560-5035
Website
Download project description [PDF]

Project Director
Mary Painter
mary.painter@ct.gov

Project Coordinator
Melissa Sienna
melissa.sienna@ct.gov

Project Evaluator
Jane Ungemack
ungemack@nso2.uchc.edu

Sponsoring Organization
Connecticut Department of Children & Families

History & Overview

History & Overview

Connecticut Department of Children and Families (DCF) is one of the nation’s few agencies to offer consolidated child protection, behavioral health, juvenile justice, and prevention services. This comprehensive approach enables DCF to offer quality services regardless of how a child’s problems arise. Whether children are abused and/or neglected; are involved in the juvenile justice system; or have emotional, mental health or substance issues, the Department can respond to these children in a way that draws upon community and state resources to help.

DCF recognizes the importance of family and strives to support children in their homes and communities. When this is not possible, a placement that meets the child’s individualized needs, in the least restrictive setting, is pursued. When services are provided to the child out-of-home, whether in foster care, residential treatment or in a DCF facility, they are designed to return the child safely and permanently back to his/her family.

DCF supports in-home and community-based services through contracts with service providers. In addition, the Department runs four facilities: a secure facility for boys who are committed to the Department as delinquents by the juvenile courts; a children’s psychiatric hospital and an experiential program for troubled youth in Connecticut.

 

Service Delivery Model

Service Delivery Model

DCF’s Substance Abuse Family Evaluation, Recovery & Screening (SAFERS) project will develop a comprehensive family recovery support service, Recovery Case Management-Enhanced (RCM-E), by adding components to an existing recovery support model, Recovery Case Management (RCM), for substance using caregivers who risk removal of their children and termination of their parental rights.  SAFERS will establish comprehensive substance use, HIV risk, mental health, parenting, trauma, and family violence screenings for caregivers, and trauma screening for infants and young children 0-5 years of age, and joint service planning and concrete supports to enhance linkages to existing evidence-based services for these families. For RCM-E families who have had a child neglect petition filed by DCF with the courts, SAFERS will establish a case status conference to conduct rapid joint service planning between the two systems.

 

Staffing

Staffing

The SAFERS project will be staffed by key personnel from partner agencies including in-kind contributions by DCF of a project director responsible for all aspects of SAFERS, an assistant agency legal director, and a program supervisor who will oversee the development and execution of contracts.  In-kind contributions to SAFERS also will be made by Advanced Behavioral Health (ABH), the community provider agency delivering SAFERS services, in the form of the president/CEO who will oversee the service implementation and a project director who will provide oversight to the RCM-E program. The University of Connecticut Health Center (UCHC) will staff the evaluation with a lead evaluator and a health economist. UCHC also will provide an in-kind project coordinator to assist the project director implement the overall SAFERS project. SAFERS will employ two expert consultants to support and strengthen the cross-agency and cross-systems collaborations, develop a trauma screening tool for young children, and provide content expertise related to substance use, trauma and child welfare.

 

Community Collaboration

Community Collaboration

SAFERS will build upon the existing partnership between the Connecticut Department of Children and Families (DCF), Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services (DMHAS), Judicial Branch, Advanced Behavioral Health, Inc., (ABH), and the University of Connecticut Health Center (UCHC) established four years ago using in-depth technical assistance from the National Center on Substance Abuse and Child Welfare to develop and implement the RCM program in seven pilot sites. DCF, as the lead partner, successfully convened a multi-agency collaborative that designed and implemented the RCM pilot model. Further, the agency partners have developed, implemented and sustained the pilot program and collaboration over four years without federal funding support. All state agency staff who have participated in the development, implementation and sustainability activities of RCM have done so in-kind. Further, the partnering state agencies have executed an MOU to commit staff to continue their in-kind contributions to implement and sustain the enhancements proposed for RCM-E and to implement the SAFERS project.

 

Evaluation/Outcomes

Evaluation/Outcomes

The evaluation will assess the degree to which the  project meets its objectives to: 1) implement a comprehensive,  coordinated network of behavioral health and support services that promotes the well-being of substance-involved families; 2) develop and implement culturally and gender appropriate family services; 3) increase screening and referral for substance use and related problems; 4) improve parents’ access, engagement and retention in substance abuse treatment; 5) increase access to evidence-based, trauma-informed interventions that promote positive child development, parenting skills and healthy parent-child relationships; 6) provide cross-agency training to increase awareness and understanding of substance use disorder and its sequela for adults and children, child development, trauma and recovery for all SAFERS partners and  stakeholders; 7) promote inter-agency data sharing; and 8) show improvements in rates of out-of-home placements and repeat maltreatment.

The evaluation will use complementary approaches: 1) a formative approach to inform the development and operation of the SAFERS system of care; 2) a process evaluation to document programmatic inputs and activities; and 3) an outcome evaluation documenting parents’ and children’s access to and utilization of services; adults’ substance abuse, mental health and function; children’s well-being and safety; family permanency; and system improvements.  A multi-method approach, using quantitative and qualitative methodologies, will assess achievement of project goals describe lessons learned.  Data will ultimately inform statewide policy and practice in addressing the needs and welfare of children with substance-involved parents, and results will be shared with ACYF, the National AIA Resource Center and other grantees.