The Oklahoma Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services (ODMHSAS), in partnership with the Children’s Hospital at Oklahoma University Medicine Substance Use Treatment & Access to Resources (STAR) Clinic, and with the support of the Oklahoma Department of Human Services (DHS), will develop the Substance use Treatment and Access to Resources and Supports (STARS) program for pregnant women who have a substance use issue and babies who have been exposed to substances and partnering with the OU-STAR clinic for prenatal care, substance use treatment, supports and after care. The STARS program will focus on women and babies residing in Oklahoma County at the time of birth who are at risk of removal and will follow the family when returning to the local community. Plans of Safe care will be developed prior to the birth of the child.
In Oklahoma, as in most jurisdictions, a majority of child welfare cases involve children under age 6, and substance use is a contributing factor for most removals of children in this age group. Sadly, of the more than 70 ODMHSAS contracted addiction centers, only 15 facilities currently provide services to the children while treating parents for substance abuse. The STARS project intends to rectify this service gap within the largest metropolitan area of the state, providing wrap-around substance use disorder (SUD) services for a minimum of 96 families over the four-year implementation period. The project also aims to test an innovative approach to enhancing parent and child well-being by pairing these prenatal SUD services with an adaptation to an evidence-based early home visiting model (Modified Attachment and Biobehavioral Catch-up).
The overarching goal is to increase the well-being of, and to improve the permanency outcomes for, children and families affected by or exposed to opioids and other substance use.
The focus of the STARS program will
- Increase the knowledge base of the medical, therapy and child welfare by developing a training dissemination plan and cross training;
- Enhance the well-being of children, parents, and families and improve safe and permanent caregiving relationships;
- Improve the substance abuse treatment outcomes for parents;
- Facilitate the implementation, delivery, and effectiveness of prevention services and programs under the Family First Prevention Services Act of 2018;
- Decrease the number of out of home placements for children through develop Plans of Safe Care prior to delivery by providing Wraparound services and connecting to resources to support the mother and baby after delivery to ensure they have a safe environment and lifestyle; and
- Decrease the number of children who are at risk of being placed in an out-of-home placement by providing services and supports prior to the delivery of the baby.
Anticipated outcomes include improved child well-being, improved permanency outcomes for children and families affected by or exposed to substance use, enhanced child safety, and increased systems collaboration.