Sobriety Treatment and Recovery Teams (START)

The information in this program outline is provided by the program representative and edited by the CEBC staff. This program has been rated by the CEBC in the following Topic Areas:

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About This Program

Target Population: Families with at least one child under 6 years of age who are in the child welfare system and have a parent whose substance use is determined to be a primary child safety risk factor

Brief Description

START is an intensive child welfare program for families with co-occurring substance use and child maltreatment delivered in an integrated manner with local addiction treatment services. START pairs child protective services (CPS) workers trained in family engagement with family mentors (peer support employees in long-term recovery) using a system-of-care and team decision-making approach with families, treatment providers, and the courts. Essential elements of the model include quick entry into START services to safely maintain child placement in the home when possible and rapid access to intensive addiction/mental health assessment and treatment. Each START CPS worker-mentor dyad has a capped caseload, allowing the team to work intensively with families, engage them in individualized wrap-around services, and identify natural supports with goals of child safety, permanency, and parental sobriety and capacity.

Program Goals:

The goals of Sobriety Treatment and Recovery Teams (START) are:

  • Ensure child safety
  • Reduce entry into out-of-home care, keeping children in the home with the parent when safe and possible
  • Achieve child permanency within the Adoptions and Safe Families Act (ASFA) timeframes, preferably with one or both parents or, if that is not possible, with a relative
  • Achieve parental sobriety in time to meet ASFA permanency timeframes
  • Improve parental capacity to care for children and to engage in essential life tasks
  • Reduce repeat maltreatment and re-entry into out-of-home care
  • Expand behavioral health system quality of care and service capacity as needed to effectively serve families with parental substance use and child maltreatment issues
  • Improve collaboration and the system of service delivery between child welfare and mental health treatment providers

Contact Information

Tina M. Willauer, MPA
Agency/Affiliation: Kentucky Department for Community Based Services
Phone: (502) 526-1323

Date Research Evidence Last Reviewed by CEBC: October 2015

Date Program Content Last Reviewed by Program Staff: October 2017

Date Program Originally Loaded onto CEBC: February 2016