The Family Recovery Project



“Recovery means finding out who I am and what I’m capable of. Every day is still recovering— what I lost; what I haven’t had. FRP changed my whole approach to staying clean.”

What is the The Family Recovery Project (FRP)?

FRP provides intensive home-based services for DCF-involved families affected by substance use whose children have been removed or are at risk of removal. FRP also aims to increase communication and training across systems throughout the region, on behalf of its family recovery model.

What are our goals?

  • Improve children’s well-being, permanency outcomes and safety
  • Improve parents’ stability in recovery, well-being, and family interactions
  • Improve children’s developmental outcomes
  • Improve system-level capacity and effectiveness in Hampden County and Southeastern MA
  • Sustain and disseminate FRP model and outcomes across the region, state, and nationally

Who does FRP serve?

Families who:
  • Are currently struggling with substance use – they may be actively using, they may have tried and failed at treatment a number of times, or they are in early recovery
  • Are impacted by parental substance use and are not actively engaged in community-based treatment AND
  • Who have children at imminent risk of placement, or children who are in out-of-home placement with the goal of reunification
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Why In-Home vs. Community-Based Services?

  • Reduces ambivalence
  • Eliminates such barriers as transportation, child care, and stigma
  • Enables the clinician to work with other family members to support the family recovery process

“If I got to talk to a legislator, I would say that this is a program that is very, very deeply needed because this program puts families back together, and it really works, and is very helpful.”

What is our treatment model?

Assertive outreach and engagement

Family-centered, strengths-based, trauma-informed approach

Ongoing intensive case management services:

  • Substance use treatment
  • Co-occurring disorder treatment
  • Guidance and advocacy for the family
  • Evidence-based models used:
    • Motivational Interviewing (to engage parents in recovery)
    • Child Parent Psychotherapy (to improve parent–child attachment)
    • Nurturing Program (to improve parenting skills and empathy)
    • Seeking Safety (to help heal the impact of trauma)

Service Coordination:

  • FRP helps to engage families in community-based treatment services (for substance abuse, mental health, physical health, domestic violence, etc.)
  • FRP matches families with supportive services (such as transportation, childcare, job training, employment, education, and parenting education)

Advocacy with the child welfare system, the courts, the schools, and other service providers

What is our model for cross-systems collaboration?

  • The Family Recovery Councils of Hampden County and Southeastern MA are each comprised of providers from the many systems that work with families in recovery (including substance abuse treatment, child welfare, mental health, health care, Early Intervention, attorneys, corrections, domestic violence providers, family services, schools, universities, law enforcement, etc.)
  • The Councils and their committees meet regularly to increase communication and collaboration across systems
  • The Councils plan and sponsor a variety of cross-trainings activities (including trainings, family recovery conferences, family recovery fairs, organizational tours, etc.) for substance abuse treatment providers, DCF staff, and other professionals working with families in recovery

What are our outcomes?

  • Trauma symptoms are significantly reduced
  • Social supports are significantly increased
  • Psychological distress is significantly reduced
  • Children are less likely to re-enter foster care
  • Providers from many service systems are communicating and collaborating

Looking Ahead

Evaluation:

  • Continue to collect and analyze data on service impact on child and family outcomes
  • Share results at the local, state, and national levels

Sustainability:

  • Work with funding sources to sustain the FRP service model
  • Institutionalize collaborative processes and communication protocols to continue cooperation between substance abuse treatment and child welfare agencies

Replication:

  • Institutionalize FRP’s service model in Hampden County and across Massachusetts, securing services for future children and families involved with the child welfare system
  • Disseminate lessons learned to statewide and national audiences
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In Dedication to Chasity Armstrong-Menard: