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DCF Expands Public-Private Program To Prevent Parent Substance Use

Courtesy of Pixabay

A recovery program that helps parents with substance use disorders get treated in the home is expanding to 500 new families in Connecticut. The state-run Family-Based Recovery program is the first in the nation to use more than $11 million in private funding and will expand from helping parents with kids younger than 3, to helping parents with kids younger than 6.

Speaking after a roundtable with program participants in Middletown on Wednesday, Rafael Lopez, commissioner for the U.S. Administration on Children, Youth and Families, says the private funding for this expansion is a national pioneer.

“Specifically using the ‘Pay for Success’ model for substance use disorder prevention is what’s so unique about it here in Connecticut. And what the program is trying to do is invest in families who are struggling with substance use disorders, so that 1, they get clean and sober, 2, their families are healthy and 3, their children remain with them in the home and are not removed into the child welfare or the foster care system.”

Erin, who asked to be identified by her first name, is one of several moms who participated in the program. She told Lopez, state officials and private investors that she is no longer afraid of the Department of Children and Families that runs the foster care system.

“They are not people that want to take your children. They want to keep children in the home. That’s where they belong, you know. But if unfortunately if I was not able to get better, then my experience would have been different. But you know my experience with DCF is that they helped me stay with my son.”

Erin says she looked forward to the family-based recovery program bringing a team of counselors and social workers to the home several times a week. She says she learned recovery and parenting skills.

Karen Hansen at the Yale School of Medicine started the program in Connecticut nearly 10 years ago. Hansen says it has helped more than 1,000 families, and she looks forward to helping 500 more.

“They will be able to recover from substance use while parenting. And it needs to happen in the home because there’s so many barriers to getting into treatment programs. Not only transportation problems but child care. And so we bring it into their home and focus on them as individuals.”

DCF says the program has helped keep children out of foster care and has helped parents reduce substance use, so families can stay together.

Cassandra Basler, a former senior editor at WSHU, came to the station by way of Columbia Journalism School in New York City. When she's not reporting on wealth and poverty, she's writing about food and family.