Specialized Treatment and Recovery Services (STARS)

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

About This Program

Target Population: Parents with substance abuse issues involved with the child welfare system

For parents/caregivers of children ages: 0 – 17

Brief Description

STARS is operated by a local non-profit community-based organization that provides substance abuse treatment services through a contract with Sacramento County to serve families who have entered the County's Dependency Drug Court. STARS is designed to assist parents in entering and completing substance abuse treatment and other court requirements. Each parent who is referred to STARS is matched with a recovery specialist who assists the parent(s) in accessing substance abuse treatment services, develops a liaison role with Child Protective Services (CPS) and other professionals and provides monitoring and accountability for the parent(s) in complying with treatment requirements.

Program Goals:

The goals for Specialized Treatment and Recovery Services (STARS) are:

  • Increase reunification rates
  • Greater AOD treatment outcomes
  • Reduce recidivism

Essential Components

The essential components of Specialized Treatment and Recovery Services (STARS) include:

  • Recovery specialists provide support, advocacy, and hold clients accountable for their recovery. The recovery specialists also act as liaisons between the court, client, and recovery center and they provide referrals to self-help meetings that are close to their home and appropriate to their needs.
  • Alcohol/DrugTesting - Instant tests are used with the clients. Instant tests are designed as a screen to provide an immediate drug test result on the spot. If a screen comes up positive, the sample can be sent to a laboratory for verification. The instant tests provide immediate feedback regarding the client's possible usage. The testing is also used as a therapeutic tool to invoke honesty on the part of the client regarding any possible relapses.
  • STARS reduces the barriers to treatment by providing immediate access to treatment, treatment matching, and liaison between treatment and the child welfare system.

Parent/Caregiver Services

Specialized Treatment and Recovery Services (STARS) directly provides services to parents/caregivers and addresses the following:

  • Substance abuse and mental illness

Delivery Settings

This program is typically conducted in a(n):

  • Birth Family Home
  • Community Agency
  • Hospital
  • Outpatient Clinic
  • Residential Care Facility
  • School


This program does not include a homework component.


Specialized Treatment and Recovery Services (STARS) does not have materials available in a language other than English.

Resources Needed to Run Program

The typical resources for implementing the program are:

Resource requirements are having dedicated staff who are trained in substance abuse issues. Optimal caseloads are 18-25 clients per recovery specialist. It is also crucial that the location of the program be in close proximity to the court to reduce the number of clients who may get "lost" on their way from court to the program. The program in Sacramento is located right across the street from the court house.

Minimum Provider Qualifications

Recovery specialists need to be certified as alcohol and drug counselors.

Education and Training Resources

There is a manual that describes how to implement this program, and there is training available for this program.

Training Contact:
Training is obtained:

Both onsite and regional depending on need

Number of days/hours:

2 days

Relevant Published, Peer-Reviewed Research

This program has been reviewed and it was determined that this program lacks the type of published, peer-reviewed research that meets the CEBC criteria for a scientific rating of 1 – 5. Therefore, the program has been given the classification of "NR - Not able to be Rated." It was reviewed because it was identified by the topic expert as a program being used in the field, or it is being marketed and/or used in California with children receiving services from child welfare or related systems and their parents/caregivers. Some programs that are not rated may have published, peer-reviewed research that does not meet the above stated criteria or may have eligible studies that have not yet been published in the peer-reviewed literature. For more information on the "NR - Not able to be Rated" classification, please see the Scientific Rating Scale.

Currently, there are no published, peer-reviewed research studies for Specialized Treatment and Recovery Services (STARS).


No reference materials are currently available for Specialized Treatment and Recovery Services (STARS).

Contact Information

Nikki Nelson
Title: Program Manager
Agency/Affiliation: STARS Program
Phone: (916) 453-2704 x129

Date Research Evidence Last Reviewed by CEBC: March 2015

Date Program Content Last Reviewed by Program Staff: October 2017

Date Program Originally Loaded onto CEBC: August 2006