The use of these 3 intervention strategies is designed to improve safety, permanency, and well-being of children involved in the child welfare system:

Early Screening for Parental Substance Use

Child welfare caseworkers will screen for substance use in parents using the UNCOPE. The UNCOPE is a survey instrument that consists of six items designed to determine whether an individual has problems related to alcohol or drug use. By using this tool, child welfare caseworkers can identify those families where substance use has been or may be a contributing cause to child maltreatment. Identifying a substance use problem early enables caseworkers to refer families to the services they need more quickly.

Family Peer Mentors

OhioSTART employs use of family peer mentors so families involved with the child welfare system have the support and mentorship of an individual who has successfully reunified with his or her children after being removed from the home due to child abuse or neglect. Utilizing family peer mentors significantly increases reunification rates1,2.

Intensive Case Management

Intensive case management ensures that early engagement continues as caseworkers, family peer mentors, and families communicate frequently to ensure the needs of the family’s are being met.


1Berrick, J.D., Cohen, E., & Anthony, E. (2011). Partnering with Parents: Promising approaches to improve reunification outcomes for children in foster care. Journal of Family Strengths, 11(1), 1-3.

2Enano, S., Freisthler, B., Perez-Johnson, D., & Lovato-Herman, K. (2017). Evaluating Parents in Partnership: A preliminary study of a child welfare intervention designed to increase rates of reunification. Journal of Social Service Research(43), 236-245. doi:10.1080/01488376.2016.1253634