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Project Connect

Scientific Rating:
3
Promising Research Evidence
See scale of 1-5
Child Welfare System Relevance Level:
High
See descriptions of 3 levels

About This Program

The information in this program outline is provided by the program representative and edited by the CEBC staff. Project Connect has been rated by the CEBC in the area of: Reunification Programs.

Target Population: High-risk, substance-affected families involved in the child welfare system. Family risks may include the following: Poly-substance abuse and dependence, domestic violence, child abuse and neglect, criminal involvement and behavior, poverty, inappropriate housing, lack of education, poor employment skills, and impaired parenting. Most of the families served are ethnically diverse, have a low household income, and are headed by single mothers.

For children/adolescents ages: 0 – 17

For parents/caregivers of children ages: 0 – 17

Brief Description

Project Connect works with high-risk families who are affected by parental substance abuse and are involved in the child welfare system. The program offers home-based counseling, substance abuse monitoring, nursing, and referrals for other services. The program also offers home-based parent education, parenting groups, and an ongoing support group for mothers in recovery.

Program Goals:

While the goal for most Project Connect families is maintaining children safely in their homes, when this is not possible, the program works to facilitate reunification.

Essential Components

Family Centered, Community Based Services

  • Staff members focus on encouraging families to use their strengths to work on the concerns in their lives.
  • The program works to connect families with, and help them to manage, the larger systems in their lives (i.e., schools; courts; child welfare systems; treatment programs for substance abuse, mental health issues, medical problems, and domestic violence; homeless shelters; Social Security; AFDC etc.).
  • Staff members work within these systems to advocate for families and to empower families to overcome the barriers to effective functioning.

Enhancing Parent/Child Relationships; Decreasing Parental Substance Abuse and Dependence

  • The program developed the Risk Inventory for Substance Abuse-Affected Families to assist in determining the level of risk and service needs for the families. There are eight scales that measure the following: commitment to recovery, patterns of use, effect on childrearing, effect on lifestyle, supports for recovery, parent's self-efficacy, parent's self-care, and neighborhood safety.
  • Visits to the family can take place in the family's primary place of residence, in the community, or at the office, based on the family's needs.
  • Group parenting sessions are offered to families to improve specific parenting skills.
  • Follow-up visits at the home encourage the application of new skills.
    Parent/child groups work to enhance the attachment and bond between adults and children.
  • Frequent recreational events are held in order to support and encourage positive interactions, and for families to have fun safely.
  • Observed visitation provides opportunities to offer feedback to the parent and the child when appropriate. This visitation also provides opportunities for collaterals to best determine service needs.
  • The program works to enhance communication between foster parents and biological parents, in order to provide consistency and continuity of care for the children.
  • In order to facilitate effective communication and interventions, family-driven case conferencing occurs frequently between various providers and family members.
  • Individual supportive counseling is offered on a weekly basis to address individual issues and develop problem-solving strategies.
  • The program helps families overcome barriers by providing concrete services. These services include using the program's emergency assistance fund, providing transportation when necessary by cabs and/or program van, and making referrals for service linkage.

Child/Adolescent Services

Project Connect directly provides services to children/adolescents and addresses the following:

  • Parental substance abuse, neglect, abuse.

Parent/Caregiver Services

Project Connect directly provides services to parents/caregivers and addresses the following:

  • Substance abuse, mental health problems.

Delivery Settings

This program is typically conducted in a(n):

  • Birth Family Home
  • Community Agency
  • Foster/Kinship Care

Homework

This program does not include a homework component.

Languages

Project Connect does not have materials available in a language other than English.

Resources Needed to Run Program

The typical resources for implementing the program are:

  • Office space
  • Transportation

Minimum Provider Qualifications

A Master's degree in social work, or a related field, and experience with at-risk families. A Bachelor's degree with extensive experience with at-risk, substance abuse-affected families, and/or those with child welfare involvement may also be acceptable.

The clinical supervisor of the program should be a Master's level, licensed clinical social worker with supervisory experience and experience with at-risk families.

The manager should be a Master's level, licensed independent clinical social worker with supervisory and management experience.

Education and Training Resources

There is not a manual that describes how to implement this program; but there is training available for this program.

Training Contact:
Training is obtained:

Varies.

Number of days/hours:

Varies.

Implementation Information

Since Project Connect is highly rated on the Scientific Rating Scale, information was requested from the program representative on available pre-implementation assessments, implementation tools, and/or fidelity measures.

Show implementation information...

Pre-Implementation Materials

There are no pre-implementation materials to measure organizational or provider readiness for Project Connect.

Formal Support for Implementation

There is formal support available for implementation of Project Connect as listed below:

As part of the training package, implementation assistance is included in the form of technical support. The formal support varies depending on the needs of the provider community. For example, one site had monthly case and program consultation with the Project Connect team via phone and then a follow-up site visit after the first year. Another site is receiving ongoing training via a Webinar format. A third site has received technical support via review of their RFA, a pre-training forum, and recently, they sent a joint provider/child welfare team to Rhode Island to see Project Connect operationalized.

Fidelity Measures

There are no fidelity measures for Project Connect.

Implementation Guides or Manuals

There are implementation guides or manuals for Project Connect as listed below:

The guide includes the philosophy and paperwork need to implement this model.

Research on How to Implement the Program

Research has not been conducted on how to implement Project Connect.

Relevant Published, Peer-Reviewed Research

This program is rated a "3 - Promising Research Evidence" on the Scientific Rating Scale based on the published, peer-reviewed research available. The practice must have at least one study utilizing some form of control (e.g., untreated group, placebo group, matched wait list study) establishing the practice's benefit over the placebo, or found it to be comparable to or better than an appropriate comparison practice. Please see the Scientific Rating Scale for more information.

Child Welfare Outcomes: Safety, Permanency and Child/Family Well-Being

Olsen, L. J. (1995). Services for substance abuse-affected families: The Project Connect Experience. Child and Adolescent Social Work Journal, 12(3), 183-196

Type of Study: Pretest/Posttest with nonrandomized matched comparison group
Number of Participants: Parents: 66, Children: 176

Population:

  • Age range — Children: 0-12 years
  • Race/Ethnicity — Families: 39% White, 30% African American, 20% Hispanic, and 11% other
  • Gender — Not Specified
  • Status — Participants were families identified for abuse and neglect by Child Welfare and who had an identified parental substance abuse problem.

Location / Institution: Rhode Island

Summary: (To include comparison groups, outcomes, measures, notable limitations)
Data from families receiving the Project Connect program was compared to data from families not receiving it, but who also had identified parental substance abuse problems. Family risk scales were given at intake and case closure. Progress on treatment was assessed for the Project Connect group using a 5-point scale and average progress for parents rose from 2.2 to 3.6. Habitability of residence, caretaker mental health, knowledge of childcare, and substance abuse risk scores improved significantly. Placement experiences for 76 Project Connect children were compared to 80 state-involved children who had similar substance abuse problems. More Project Connect children were reunified after placement and duration of placement was shorter. Kinship care was also available for the 74% of Project Connect children whose mothers entered residential treatment. Limitations include the lack of randomization and attrition during the study.

Length of post-intervention follow-up: None.

References

Mumm, A .M. Olsen, L, J., & Allen, D. (1998). Families affected by substance abuse: Implications for generalist social work practice. Families and Society, 79(4), 384-394.

Olsen, L., Allen, D., & Azzi-Lessing, L. (1996). Assessing risk in families affected by substance abuse. Child Abuse and Neglect, 20, 833-842.

Azzi-Lessing, L, & Olsen, L. (1996) Substance abuse-affected families in the child welfare system. Social Work, 41, 15-23.

Contact Information

Name: Valentina L.S. Laprade, LICSW, RCS
Website: www.cfsri.org/projectconnect.html
Email:
Phone: (401) 276-4352
Fax: (401) 729-0010

Date Research Evidence Last Reviewed by CEBC: June 2013

Date Program Content Last Reviewed by Program Staff: April 2014

Date Program Originally Loaded onto CEBC: July 2006