Title: ASSERT (AccesS, Screening and Engagement, Recovery support, and Treatment)
Applicant: Connecticut Department of Children and Families (DCF)
Principal Investigator: Mary Painter
505 Hudson Street
Hartford, CT 06106
The Connecticut Department of Children and Families (DCF), in partnership with the Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services (DMHAS), proposes to implement a comprehensive statewide strategic treatment plan to improve treatment for adolescents (age 12-17) and transitional aged youth (18-21) with substance use disorders and with or without co-occurring mental health disorders. This plan was developed with funding from CSAT’s SYT-P program. Locally this project will be known as ASSERT (AccesS, Screening and Engagement, Recovery support, and Treatment). ASSERT's overall goal is to improve access to evidence-based substance use treatments. ASSERT aims to achieve this goal by partnering with model developers to develop Multidimensional Family Therapy-Medication Assisted Treatment (MDFT-MAT) with outreach and recovery management supports. ASSERT will demonstrate this model in Year one and expand it in Years 2-4. ASSERT also will expand the workforce capacity to serve a diverse population of youth and their families with substance use disorders (SUDs) with or without co-occurring disorders through skills-and knowledge-based trainings. Additionally, finance and policy reforms will improve the sustainability and efficiency of ASSERT infrastructure and service improvements. These improvements will include increased community screening for SUDs, increased awareness of available services, well-defined linkages to treatment, expansion of evidenced based practice (EBP) models to serve youth up to age 21, and development of recovery supports.
Partnerships with other state agencies, mental health and substance use providers, community agencies, and youth and families will be key to ASSERT’s success as it relies on participation and commitment of these stakeholders in all aspects of infrastructure reform and service implementation. ASSERT will further expand the collaborative efforts of DCF and DMHAS by improving their collective systems of care to ensure they are evidence-based, family-centered and recovery-oriented. For instance, DCF has an evidence-based treatment system for adolescents, but lacks recovery support services. Alternatively, DMHAS has successfully implemented screening for substance use in Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs) in several urban communities. DMHAS also has supported a robust recovery support system for young adults and adults throughout the state. ASSERT will bring together the expertise of these two agencies to increase screening for substance use problems among community youth, extend evidence-based treatments to transitional age youth up to age 21, and build recovery supports for the ASSERT target population.