UofL Kent School partners with VOA and DCBS for the Family Recovery Pilot Program

UofL Kent School faculty, Dr. Andrew Winters, Dr. Crystal Collins-Camargo, and Dr. Martin Hall are working in partnership with Volunteers of America (VOA) and the KY Department for Community Based Services (DCBS) to provide evaluation of the work and outcomes of the new Family Recovery Pilot Program.  The University of Louisville, Kent School of Social Work team, led by Dr. Winters, will evaluate the program, including study of child welfare office sites. The evaluation will include a total of six child welfare office sites, three intervention sites and three non-intervention or comparison sites. Evaluation of the intervention includes a mixed methodological approach assessing child welfare, workforce, and intervention outcomes.

Kentucky leaders including Lt. Governor Jacqueline Coleman, Cabinet for Health and Family Services Secretary Eric Friedlander, Department for Community Based Services Commissioner Marta Miranda-Straub and Volunteers of America Mid-States President and CEO Jennifer Hancock introduced the innovative new program today that will provide early intervention and support for families struggling with substance use disorder.

The Family Recovery Program pilot will begin this year in Clay, Hardin and Lincoln Counties with community partner Volunteers of America Mid-States (VOA) and will focus on supporting families who are struggling with substance use disorder and are in contact with the Department for Community Based Services (DCBS). The innovative project will build an earlier and more effective collaboration between DCBS and VOA, a non-profit behavioral health organization with a focus on recovery for families working to overcome substance use disorder.

“We must strengthen and support families recovering from substance abuse. Addiction and recovery are a family affair. This program will provide recovery services for all members of the family in their communities. This partnership between DCBS and VOA is a game changer. VOA will provide comprehensive services that maintain the family unit, prevents family disruption, minimizes the trauma of separation and provides a recovery support network for the whole system. This model program is a secondary prevention effort that facilitates recovery not only for the person suffering from active addiction but to the children and youth affected by parental addiction,” said Commissioner Miranda-Straub.


Highlights and goals of the program include:

· VOA will share office space at local DCBS offices and will consult with our expert clinicians in cases where parents show substance use disorder risks.

· Our VOA team will provide assessments and recommendations for care, make links to treatment, participate in prevention planning and coordinate case management with treatment provider and DCBS team.

· Expanding and supporting the Family Recovery Court in Clay, Hardin and Lincoln Counties, emphasizing early intervention with families experiencing substance use disorder.

· Establishing a VOA partnership with DCBS to connect children and parents to high-quality, trauma-informed services and case management as early as possible.

· Providing an alternative to out-of-home placements in by keeping families unified while receiving necessary treatment and support.

· Providing data on outcomes and the efficacy of the program.

· Providing a model for similar programs throughout Kentucky, with a goal of taking the program to scale throughout the Commonwealth.

“Volunteers of America knows how to provide life-changing support for families struggling with substance use disorder and we know we can make a difference for families who need the right resources and assistance to stay safe, healthy and united. We know the Family Recovery program can protect kids, strengthen families and build better, healthier communities,” said Hancock.

The Family Recovery Program Pilot is about to begin in Clay, Hardin and Lincoln Counties and has broad-based support among legislators and community advocates. It addresses an urgent need in Kentucky, where nearly 10,000 children are currently in out-of-home placements. In Clay County, nearly ten percent of children are in out-of-home-placements. Substance use disorder contributed to, or was a risk factor, in nearly two-thirds of those cases.

Dr. Terry Brooks, Executive Director of Kentucky Youth Advocates and Kentucky’s leading independent advocate for children, also attended the press conference and expressed his support for the program.

“When it comes to supporting kids and families today more than ever, incremental change and gnawing at the edges simply will not cut it. Today's announcement reminds us that the all too often missing element of innovation is achievable and is THE imperative to genuinely impact the tragedies of abuse, neglect and addiction,” Dr. Brooks said.

The University of Louisville's Kent School of Social work's evaluation of the program will be used to determine the efficacy of outcomes and potential for expansion.