The nationwide opioid epidemic has had a significant impact on Ohio families. In Ohio, 50% of families involved with Children Services have substance use problems. According to the Public Children’s Services Association of Ohio (PCSAO), the extent of opioid use in Fairfield and Pickaway Counties has resulted in higher rates of Children Services involvement.
- parental substance misuse increases the chance of a child experiencing physical abuse and neglect
- children exposed to parental substance misuse have a higher likelihood of having physical, psychological and cognitive problems
- parental substance misuse requires additional services to better serve struggling families
- the growing demand for foster care services has overwhelmed Children Services in Fairfield and Pickaway counties
Enhancing Permanency in Children and Families (EPIC)
With funding from the Administration on Children, Youth, and Families (ACYF), the Ohio State University College of Social Work is collaborating with Job and Family Services for both Fairfield and Pickaway counties to implement the EPIC program. EPIC is designed to holistically address substance misuse and associated parenting needs for child welfare involved families.
EPIC aims to:
The program involves building partnerships between the legal, medical, social, and child welfare systems to create an infrastructure and system of care for substance using parents and their children. EPIC is intended to be a long-term and important component in the battle against the opioid epidemic in Ohio.
To meet these objectives, EPIC utilizes a three-pronged approach using evidence-based/informed programs.
Family Treatment Drug Court (FTDC) with Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT)
- FTDCs reduce the time children spend in out-of-home placements and participating parents are more likely to reunify with their children.
- MAT, prioritized for FTDC participants, consists of behavioral therapy and medication and has been proven to improve the likelihood of gaining sobriety.
Peer Recovery Support (PRS)
- Peer recovery supporters mentor parents through the recovery process, increase access to substance use treatment, and reduce time children spend in out-of-home care.
Support for Kinship Caregivers
- Relatives taking care of affected children are provided training and resources to help better understand and meet these children’s needs.
For a downloadable/printable summary: Research Brief: EPIC Program (April 2018)