U.S Department of Health and Human Services U.S Department of Health and Human Services, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration
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Includes collaborative practices and tools for linking substance abuse, child welfare, and family courts.

Collaborative Practice

Group of people collaborating The goal of the professionals who work with children and families affected by substance use disorders and involved in the child welfare system is to facilitate positive outcomes for these families. Ideally, the parent will receive effective treatment for the substance use disorder so that the child can remain with the parent, while the well-being of the child is fully supported throughout the parent’s recovery process. Achieving this outcome requires intensive collaboration by multiple agencies working with the family.

Collaboration among all three systems presents certain barriers that must be overcome. There is a shifting role for professionals as they develop and implement a new way of communicating with one another on policy issues. Differences in practice among stakeholders, from courtroom to courtroom, from agency to agency, and from provider to provider must be recognized and addressed.

Front cover of Collaborative Practice Model The Collaborative Practice Model for Family, Safety and Recovery (PDF - 1.9MB)
The Collaborative Practice Model provides ten system linkage elements that child welfare agencies, substance abuse treatment providers, family courts and other agencies can use to collaborate with each other. This publication defines and provides examples of collaborative practice in each of the ten system linkage elements.

Facilitating Cross-System Collaboration Facilitating Cross-System Collaboration: A Primer on Child Welfare, Alcohol and Other Drug Services, and Courts (PDF - 1.09MB)
This primer provides information on the operational characteristics of each system to support cross-system communication and coordination within State, county, and tribal jurisdictions.

Online Learning

Collaborative Practice Tools

NCSACW helps child welfare agencies, substance abuse treatment providers and dependency courts to establish cross-system collaboration that sets the stage for positive outcomes. To carry out this work, NCSACW has developed a set of policy tools and instruments that support the framework. The tools and instruments provide benchmarks for improving system linkages and assessments to elicit discussions among agencies.

Here are links to the Collaborative Practice Tools:

Related Presentations
bullet arrow From Collaboration to Teaming (PDF - 425 KB)
  • Kari Hearod
  • Kristie Brooks
  • Kimberly-Ann Coe
  • Marc Carr
  • Kim Bishop-Stevens
  • Jen Parks
Event: Regional Partnership Grantee Annual Close Out Meeting
Location: Washington, DC
Date: August 2012

bullet arrow The Collaborative Practice Model for Child Safety, Permanency, and Family Recovery: An In-Depth Look at Program Strategies for Improved Outcomes for Children and Families (PDF 7.87 MB)
  • Nancy K. Young
Event: Children's Bureau Policy to Practice Dialogue
Location: National Harbor, MD
Date: October 2011

bullet arrow Why It's Not Just One More Thing (PDF - 1.12 MB)
  • Sid Gardner
Event: Annual Children's Network Conference
Location: San Bernardino, CA
Date: September 2011

bullet arrow Bringing Systems Together to Promote Family Recovery, Safety and Stability (PDF - 1.49 MB)
  • Linda Carpenter
  • Cathleen Otero
  • Christine S. Kiesel
Event: Putting the Pieces Together for Children and Families: The National Conference on Substance Abuse, Child Welfare and the Courts
Location: National Harbor, MD
Date: September 2011

Man with a child