The Big Picture: What’s Your Piece of the Puzzle?
Let’s Work Together For Family Recovery!

Interagency Learning and Collaboration 

Family recovery is a process that involves many different systems - each of which is working hard to help the family cope with its challenges. Providers within each of these important systems are like individual puzzle pieces. But what does the big picture look like for the family, with each puzzle piece in place? Taking time to reflect on what a family is experiencing within each system that impacts the recovery process is key. How often do we step back  and see the big picture, from different points of view? How are we, as providers - each of us a piece of the puzzle - working together? Do we understand what other systems are doing to help the family? Are we communicating with each other? Where can we improve our cross-systems collaboration in order to best serve the family, parents and children alike?

First, we need to recognize the complexity of systems that are often involved in the lives of families in recovery from parental substance abuse and addiction, including:

Substance abuse treatment
Child welfare (DCF)
Mental health treatment
Early Intervention
Family support services
Housing services
Domestic violence services
Law enforcement
Peer support programs
Community-based programs
Faith-based programs

Next, we need to learn from each other. The Family Recovery Project not only provides clinical services for DCF-involved families recovering from substance abuse, but we also focus on cross-systems change. We are currently funded to support cross-system collaborations in two regions of Massachusetts: Hampden County (Western MA) and Southeastern MA. Our Family Recovery Councils in these areas aim to: 1) remove barriers to treatment services for families struggling with substance abuse and co-occurring mental health disorders; and 2) improve communication and collaboration across systems, in order to provide high-quality care and coordination of support for families in recovery.

There are many different resources that may help providers from specific systems advance their work on behalf of families in recovery.  Check out our resource pages by system:

To this end, the Family Recovery Project supports opportunities for reflection, networking and relationship-building, and cross-systems training. Together we can bring the puzzle pieces together, so that each family in recovery has the best chance possible to stay safe and healthy.
And don’t forget to visit to see what the Family Recovery Project itself has developed! These resources are specific to family recovery, developed by providers in the communities we serve. Check out these exciting projects:

1. Best Practices in Communication: A Guide for DCF and Substance Abuse Treatment Providers. This comprehensive guide includes recommendations for improving communication at all stages with families involved with DCF, along with practical tools for DCF workers and supervisors, as well as treatment providers. This guide was developed by the Communication Committee of the Family Recovery Council of Hampden County.

1. Guide for Pregnant/Postpartum Parents in Medication-Assisted Recovery.  Everything a parent needs to know! Providers are welcome to share the whole packet, or any section that is relevant to pregnant/new parents in medication-assisted recovery (such as methadone or Suboxone). This guide was developed by the MAT & Pregnancy/Postpartum Committee of the Family Recovery Council of Hampden County.

More projects to come - contact us to get involved in one of our
Family Recovery Councils to help make a difference in your community!
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In Dedication to Chasity Armstrong-Menard: