Tuscarawas County among 14 counties to see Ohio’s START program

(New Philadelphia, Ohio) – The Ohio Department of Job and Family Services recently announced plans to expand a family-centered treatment and trauma-informed care pilot into Tuscarawas County.

Tuscarawas County is among Allen, Ashland, Auglaize, Cuyahoga, Harrison, Licking, Lucas, Mahoning, Medina, Portage, Union, Wayne, and Williams counties to see the program expansion. The START program is designed to bring together juvenile courts, children services, and behavioral health treatment providers to better support families experiencing co-occurring child maltreatment and substance abuse.

Family mentorship is also a critical piece of the START program. Mentors are individuals who have personal experience with addiction, have achieved sustained recovery, and who have had contact with the child welfare system as a child or as a parent. Governor Mike DeWine launched the program, Ohio Sobriety, Treatment, and Reducing Trauma in 2017 while he was the state Attorney General.

The START initiative has served 894 people in all and 389 children to date. It continues to help mothers struggling with substance use disorder give birth to drug-free babies, reunite families, and help parents gain independence and maintain sobriety.

Governor DeWine noted that the newest counties to join the program take the total Ohio START counties to 46. He explained plans to expand that number to 62 over the next two years. DeWine included $16 million in the budget to fund the expansion of evidence-based programs such as Ohio START.

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