Attorney General Releases Interim Report on Pilot Program Helping Families Overcome Substance Abuse Issues and Reducing Childhood Trauma

(Ohio)—Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine releases the Ohio START Interim Report, tracking the progress of the Ohio START (Sobriety, Treatment, and Reducing Trauma) Pilot Program.

unnamed.pngOhio START is an intervention program that provides specialized victims services, such as intensive trauma counseling to children who have suffered victimization due to parental drug use. The program also connects parents to drug addiction.

“Children are the most vulnerable victims of the opioid epidemic. Through the START program we are supporting these kids, as well as helping their parents get the treatment they need to overcome their addiction.  The goal is to be able to reunite families, and reduce trauma for children,” said Attorney General DeWine. “Through the pilot program, families in 17 hard-hit counties are receiving the care, support, and wrap-around services they need to put them on the road to long-term success.”

Since Ohio START launched in March 2017, pilot counties have:

  • Received more than $400,000 in funding from the Ohio Attorney General’s Office.
  • Undergone more than 1,900 combined hours of training.
  • Demonstrated a high level of readiness for implementation.
  • Employed 20 individuals in recovery as family peer mentors.
  • Identified nearly five dozen families for Ohio START services.
  • Served 47 families and more than 125 individuals through Ohio START.
  • Had no families withdraw from the program, with the first Ohio START family scheduled to graduate from the program later this month.

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Ohio START brings together children’s services, juvenile courts, and behavioral health treatment providers to support families struggling with co-occurring child maltreatment and substance abuse. In addition, family peer mentorship is a critical part of the program. The mentors are individuals who have personal experience with addiction, who have achieved a sustained recovery, and who have had a prior engagement with the child welfare system as a child or a parent. They provide accountability, support, and serve as role models for parents.

The multi-year pilot program is funded through a $3.5 million Victims of Crime ACT (VOCA) grant from the Ohio Attorney General’s Office which will be shared among the pilot counties. Those counties include Athens, Brown, Clinton, Fairfield, Fayette, Franklin, Galia, Hamilton, Highland, Hocking, Jackson, Lawrence, Meigs, Pickaway, Ross, Vinton, and Warren.

Ohio START is also supported by Casey Family Programs; the Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services, through a federal 21st Century Cures grant; United Healthcare Community Plan of Ohio; and the HealthPath Foundation of Ohio.

The Ohio State University College of Social Work and the Voinovich School of Leadership and Public Affairs at Ohio University are donating their time and resources to conduct a full evaluation of the pilot, which will be available at the pilot’s conclusion.

A copy of the full interim report is available on the Ohio Attorney General’s website at Watch a video on the Ohio Attorney General’s YouTube Channel to learn more about the Ohio START Program.

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