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Collaboration Pathways for Infants and Families Affected by Substance Use Disorders: Lessons From New Jersey

Center for Children and Family Futures, United States. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, United States. Children’s Bureau – 2019

This federally funded report explains New Jersey began working with National Center on Substance Abuse and Child Welfare (NCSACW) on a number of technical assistance (TA) projects to strengthen cross-systems collaboration and improve the lives of families in the child welfare system who are affected by parental substance use disorders. Two of these projects were part of NCSACW’s In-Depth Technical Assistance (IDTA) program. A case study is then presented that highlights New Jersey’s progress and achievements from the vantage point of the New Jersey team and its partners at the intersection of health care, family courts, child welfare, and substance use disorder (SUDs) treatment, as well as the NCSACW staff who participated most actively in New Jersey’s work. Information is provided on the New Jersey IDTA and substance-exposed infant IDTA (SEI- IDTA), and the organization and context of the New Jersey IDTA efforts. Major practice and policy accomplishments are then described and include: a drop-off analysis to assess the points in the systems that families in the child welfare system who are referred for a substance use disorder assessment and subsequent treatment services either do not engage in or drop out of services; statewide substance use disorder training for child welfare workers; case management and the implementation of the recovery support model; a statewide hospital survey of screening practices and related data analysis; and the implementation of plans of safe care for infants with prenatal substance exposure and their families. Challenges to system change are discussed, including barriers to system change and tracking outcomes data that adequately reflects progress. The report closes with a discussion on lessons learned and next steps and ongoing initiative for the New Jersey team. 16 references.

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