NBC News Covers START in Fairfield County

“START targets the most at-risk kids in the county.”

“Fairfield County, Ohio’s Protective Workers used to almost automatically remove kids from the home if the parents were using drugs, but with 8 out of 10 cases of abuse and neglect, here, related to drugs (mainly opioids), and a severe shortage of foster care options, CPS workers in Ohio are trying a new approach to keep families together.” –NBC News

 (Click image to watch news story.)

image of a family with text "Program to Preserve Families in Opioid Ravaged Ohio"

People interviewed include:

  • Brittaney Pickerel – OhioSTART participant
  • Kitty Matson – Peer Supporter
  • Kristi Burre – Fairfield County Director of Child Protective Services

New! Needs Portal Training Videos

We know that many of you are already using the Needs Portal. We currently have 78 tickets logged by 9 different counties!

We hope that you are getting comfortable with the Needs Portal. To assist you, Elinam has just posted a set of videos guiding workers through the use of the Needs Portal. There are videos for caseworkers, family peer mentors, and service providers. In addition to the links below, you can access the videos from these two places:

  1. The Training Page of the this website
  2. The FAQ page available after you have logged into the Needs Portal.

For caseworkers

For Parent Mentors

For Service Providers

Please let us know of any additional training resources that would be helpful.

What Do Staff Think of OhioSTART?

During spring and summer 2018, the evaluation team conducted 16 interviews with various OhioSTART staff representing 6 counties, in order to assess perceptions of the program and guide further implementation.  Overall, the interviews reveal staff have positive perceptions of the OhioSTART model. While we are currently drafting a full report, we wanted to highlight some preliminary findings.

Bar Chart showing number and type of interview participants: 1 behavioral health provider, 4 child welfare caseworkers, 5 peer mentors, and 6 child welfare administrators.

OhioSTART is good for the child welfare system

  1. The model is influencing the child welfare system via an intensive, positive, and supportive approach to working with families experiencing substance use disorders and child welfare involvement.

“I think that it’s motivating for caseworkers to see that parents, some of which were involved with our agency, do recover. They’re able to get their children back.”

–Child Welfare Administrator

  1. Ohio START has resulted in increased and rapid communication and coordination of families’ services between child welfare staff and behavioral health providers.

“We are just having a lot more open communication with [AOD providers] than in the past and it is very helpful.”   

–Child Welfare Administrator

Peer Mentors are key to the success of the program

Peer Mentors are not only providing intensive and supportive services and modeling recovery for parents, but they are also a resource with experience of substance use disorders and a source of hope for child welfare staff.

“Having people who have walked that path (child welfare and substance disorder) for themselves as a model that it is possible to recover. It is possible to get your kids back. It is possible to have a healthy productive family life. It is possible. Recovery is possible and life is possible after. It’s not the end.”

–Behavioral Health Provider

Improvement can be made in services and implementation

  1. Interviewees also report additional service needs. For example, there is a reported shortage of inpatient behavioral health care for women, not enough housing in some communities and not enough child trauma services in some communities.
  2. Some interviewees note more of a planning period, as well as increased clarity on implementation and funding at the outset would have been helpful.
  3. Interviewees would like increased flexibility on when families can be included in OhioSTART.

Click here for a 2-page summary with more inspiring and helpful quotes.

Introducing New Needs Portal Staff

I wanted to introduce two new team members who will be helping with the Needs Portal for Ohio START.  We hope that by adding staff we can provide you with better support during Year 2.5.

Christy Kranich, M.S.W. has been providing support to Ohio START in the background for the past year. She was the primary force in developing the website (https://u.osu.edu/ohiostart/) and the infographics for the interim evaluation reports.  For the past few months, she has been shadowing Eli Dellor at the trainings.  Christy will be conducting trainings and answering TA calls and emails.

Karla Shockley McCarthy, M.S.W. is a current Ph.D. student.  Karla was one of two students who developed the Opioid Family Support Toolkit (found here: https://u.osu.edu/toolkit/). She has also developed an infographic on using drug tests in child welfare (stay tuned for a copy) and has been supporting our Regional Partnership Grant with Fairfield and Pickaway counties. For the Needs Portal, she will be scheduling trainings, including those with your local providers, and answering TA calls and emails.

 Eli Dellor is still assisting with trainings and providing TA.  She is working on developing some “how to” videos to walk you through using the Portal. 

As a reminder, if you are already using the Needs Portal, you only need to add new tickets for new cases and update the VOCA services provided each month and we will pull the reports Fawn needs.  If you haven’t begun entering tickets, let us know if you need a refresher training.

 We also have a new email needsportal@osu.edu.

 We look forward to continuing to work with all of you!


Helping Someone Who Has Witnessed an Overdose: Opioid Overdose Family Support Toolkit

If you have witnessed or experienced an overdose, you know it can be a scene of chaos and confusion as first responders, interested bystanders, family members, and friends try to save the life of the person who has overdosed.

Researchers at The Ohio State University College of Social Work and College of Pharmacy have developed the Opioid Overdose Family Support Toolkit with support and resources for families, children and first responders impacted by opioid use and overdose.

Screen shot of the website for the Opioid Overdose Family Support Toolkit. Talks about the trauma of addiction and overdose and shows a graphic about knowing the sign of overdose.

You can find the following information on the Toolkit website:

Innovative Ideas: Family Resources & Support

START workers in Brown County are providing new and engaging ways for clients to build a positive, supportive community and to access helpful, every day information:

  1. Our START workers and clients are participating in the 3rd Annual Recovery Run in September. The run is sponsored by the Brown County Board of Mental Health & Addiction Services.
  2. Workers have created a Pinterest Board highlighting low-cost activities for children, menu planning, family activities, and parenting tips. We provide a letter to clients to let them know about the board. We have 130 followers! Click the image to go to Pinterest to see the full Board which contains additional sections.

A screenshot of Brown County's OhioSTART Pinterest Board with categories of links for Chores and Household Maintentance; Self Care Tips and Articles; Quote; and Activities and Craft Ideas. 

  1. START workers are starting a clothing program to assist in obtaining appropriate clothing for court and job interviews. This is a new resource in our county!
  2. START Workers are in the first phases of planning a mentoring program for parents in the community.
  3. We also create a START binder that is specialized for each member. This is meant to be a resource and a memory book. It includes sections such as, “My Journey,” Scheduling, Contact Information, Legal, Goal Setting, Recovery/Treatment Information, Self, Health, Family Finance, Education, Resources, and Crime Victim Information. Click here for an outline of contents. Click here for the cover pages that we use for each section.

OhioSTART Success: News from Brown County

Good Morning! Brown County could not be more thrilled about the direction our OhioSTART program is headed. We have had a great response from families who are choosing to actively engage with START services. As of early May 2018:Image with information: 3 of 4 families are highly engaged in services. 3 of 4 entered treatment within 5 days of meeting their START worker. Families have made use of the following 4 types of treatment: 1) 3-day detox; 2) Crisis Center; 3) Inpatient Treatment; and 4) Outpatient Treatment.

In addition to this amazing impact on families, our workers are committed to upgrading their skills:

  • Both our caseworker and family peer mentors have committed to obtaining their Chemical Dependency Counseling Assistant credential.
  • Our caseworker is obtaining the Prevention Now! Certification through SAMHSA and will be implementing prevention into case planning.