Policy Resource

Sobriety Treatment and Recovery Teams (Ohio)

Feb 9, 2016

In 2011, a group of leading child welfare and early childhood development organizations published A Call to Action on Behalf of Maltreated Infants and Toddlers.

The report represents their collective vision on the important steps that can and should be taken in policies, programs, and practices to better address the developmental needs of infants and toddlers who come to the attention of the child welfare system. It first presents the compelling evidence for addressing the needs of infants and toddlers, and then suggests key elements of a developmental approach for infants and toddlers in child welfare. It is intended to provide a starting point for federal, state, and local policy makers and administrators to assess and identify where and how they can revise or institute policies that protect the development of infants and toddlers as well as their safety. Organizations joining with ZERO TO THREE to create the policy agenda and urge action include American Humane Association, Center for the Study of Social Policy, Child Welfare League of America, and Children’s Defense Fund.

Sobriety Treatment and Recovery Teams (START) serve families with young children who have experienced child neglect or abuse and parental substance use disorders, focusing on helping parents overcome their addictions and promoting parental capacity to care for their children. Highly trained family mentors and child protective service workers team up to work with families with substantiated abuse or neglect and child safety risks, with children at least 5 years or younger, often including substance-exposed newborns. Of the 320 families served nationally, 70% of mothers achieved and maintained sobriety, nearly double the typical rate of success of 39% in other programs. Many successful families have been able to care for their children, develop better parental skills, and pursue education and other work. Key partners in START include judges, foster parents, mental health providers, and substance abuse providers.

The START program was first initiated in Cleveland, Ohio in 1997.

The report is available at http://www.zerotothree.org/public-policy/federal-policy/childwelfareweb.pdf

Updated August 2011

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