Greg interviews LeeAnne Cornyn, the director of the Children’s Initiative at Attorney General Mike Dewine’s office. Leanne has been working on a new child protective services program called START – Sobriety Treatment and Reducing Trauma – which, aims to provide support for children and parents who have been affected by substance abuse.

Greg asks LeeAnne about what comprises a START team. She explains that every team includes three parts; child welfare, behavioral health providers/peer support, and the family drug court. Each member of the team then works to address and administer treatment to children and parents who have suffered from drug related trauma.  “There are three separate entities that are involved in a START team. First and foremost is child welfare. There is a dedicated case worker who handles a much smaller case load of about 8-10 cases who can really provide intensive case management and wrap-around stewardship for children who enter the child welfare system because of their parent’s addiction.” She furthers that the program does not just cover children, “… because of the parent’s addiction, the parent is going to need some kind of drug treatment. So, the behavioral health providers are also a very important part of the START team. And one way that the behavioral health partners are working on this team is through something called a peer support and recovery specialist. So this is a new role that has been created by the Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services. And essentially these are individuals who have experience with addiction, who have been in recovery for a period of time, and who have then gone through a certification process set by the Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services. It requires 16 hours of online training, 40 hours of in-person training, and in order to get their certification these individuals must also pass a test. So it is a pretty labor intensive process, just to make sure that we have the best possible peer mentors providing support to these families.” Lastly, she states that the courts also play a role. “Then the third and final party in the START team is the juvenile courts or the family drug court. They would be the entity that helps refer families to the START program.”

Listen to the podcast to discover how families qualify for this program and how communities can implement such a program on their own.