Online Program

Connecticut's recovery specialist program: Getting substance abusing parents into treatment

Wednesday, November 6, 2013 : 9:15 a.m. - 9:30 a.m.

Jane A. Ungemack, Dr PH, Department of Community Medicine and Healthcare, University of Connecticut School of Medicine, Farmington, CT
Melissa Sienna, M.S, Dept. of Community Medicine and Health Care, University of Connecticut Health Center, Farmington, CT
Marilou Giovannucci, M.S., Court Operations, Connecticut Judicial Branch, Wethersfield, CT
Samuel Moy, Ph.D., Advanced Behavioral Health, Middletown, CT
Karen Orhenberger, M.A., Early Intervention and Speciality Programs, Dept. of Mental Health and Addiction Services, Hartford, CT
Mary Painter, LCSW, LADC, Substance Abuse Division, CT Department of Children and Families, Hartford, CT
Research shows that parental substance use is a key contributing factor in out-of-home placements for children in child welfare. In Connecticut, data show that children of substance-involved parents have significantly longer placements in child welfare than those without substance abuse. Despite referrals to substance abuse treatment, less than a third of these substance abusing parents actually enter treatment. The Recovery Specialist Voluntary Program (RSVP) is an intensive recovery support program that was jointly developed and implemented by the State's agencies for child welfare, adult substance abuse treatment services and the Judicial Branch to increase engagement and retention of parents in treatment, increase their recovery capital, and achieve improved outcomes for their children, including more timely permanency decisions and family reunification. The program, an alternative to a drug court model, targets parents/caregivers who have had a child removed by an Order of Temporary Custody (OTC) and who are at risk of losing their parental rights due to their substance problem. Evaluation findings based on administrative data from each of the participating agencies describe the client population, service utilization and program outcomes. The findings show that 84% of parents enrolling in RSVP accessed substance abuse treatment, most within two weeks. Three-in-four RSVP clients had a successful discharge from treatment, compared to only 43% of treatment clients statewide. Seventy-four percent of children of RSVP parents had a permanent placement decision within 12 months compared to 49% of OTC cases statewide.

Learning Areas:

Conduct evaluation related to programs, research, and other areas of practice
Public health or related public policy

Learning Objectives:
Describe the Recovery Specialist Voluntary Program, including eligibility criteria for participants, program approach and requirements, and participant characteristics Understand how administrative and service data were used to evaluate the program, challenges of accessing state agency data across different agencies, and limitations Assess the success of the Recovery Specialist Voluntary Program in improving parents' access to and engagement in substance abuse treatment and placement decisions for their children

Keyword(s): Child Neglect, Access and Services

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am a health services researcher and public health educator who has been the principal investigator or evaluator for several federally funded or state funded demonstration programs or statewide initiatives related to substance abuse prevention and treatment.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.