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Support Children and Youth Affected by the Substance Use and Misuse Epidemic

Integrate the Child Welfare, Public Safety, and Behavioral Health System to Facilitate Access to Effective Services for Children and Families Impacted by the Substance Use and Misuse Epidemic.

The impact of illicit substance use and misuse on children is often hidden until their parents experience an overdose or become unable to take care of them. Many states have experienced significant increases in foster care placements, and neonatal abstinence syndrome has skyrocketed. Living in a home environment with substance use and misuse is often unstable, unsafe, and stressful for children. Exposure to traumatic experiences such as witnessing an overdose or death, incarceration of a parent, or experiencing long-term neglect can cause social, emotional, and physical challenges that last into adulthood. Family bonds are generally weakened by illicit substance use and misuse, as individuals lie or steal from family members, or even become verbally or physically abusive, to get what they need to support their addictions. Further, grandparents and family members caring for affected children often face financial hardships and lack access to services that help address children’s trauma or deal with their own grief and stigma. Given the far-reaching and long-term consequences of illicit substance use and misuse on families, multisector collaborative partnerships among public safety, public health, and behavioral health with systems that support children—child welfare, schools, early childhood programs—are essential to identifying and providing early intervention for children impacted by illicit substance use and misuse and developing interventions that address the needs of the whole family.

COSSUP supports activities that:

  • Implement and expand victim services and early childhood programming to help ameliorate the negative impact of illicit substance use and misuse on children.
  • Implement and expand victim services that include family-centered treatment options that address the needs of both parents and children to strengthen families.

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Grantee Projects

Michigan Department of Health and Human Services


The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) will form a multidisciplinary team (MDT) of personnel from various community partners in an effort to work collaboratively and share data related to opioid abuse. Five Michigan counties will receive contracted substance abuse services to use during Child Protective Services (CPS) investigations, CPS open cases, and foster care cases. These services will be provided to rural counties that currently do not have access to the resources. MDHHS will provide at least ten “Connection between Trauma, Substance Abuse, and Mental Health” training sessions conducted by Dr. Stephanie Covington and her staff regarding the link between trauma and substance use. This statewide training will be available for all child welfare staff members. Finally, an online training will be developed to ensure that mandated reporters across Michigan have a robust understanding of their reporting requirements. Certification for the training will be provided. The University of Michigan will act as the action researcher to determine whether any changes to policy and child welfare practices would be beneficial.
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Franklin County


The Franklin County Pathways to Healthy Living Program will offer services to individuals booked into the Franklin County Correctional Center wtih a history of substance use to include screening, cognitive behavioral treatment, medication-assisted treatment (MAT), and linkage to peer support. Participants will be linked with a team pre- and post-release to ensure continuity of care. Funding will support implementation of the RREACT Buddies program, a mentorship program for youth ages 10-16 who have been impacted by the addiction crisis. Youth are paired with first responder mentor to build healthy prosocial relationships and connect with community resources. Additional components of the project include funding for a Peer Supporter in the Franklin County Municipal Court "h.a.r.t." Specialty Docket " for those with an opioid use history, and staffing support for a local comprehensive harm reduction center.
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Cobb County Board of Commissioners


The Cobb District Attorney’s Office will create an Opioid Fatality Review Project and provide wraparound services to families that have lost a loved one to an overdose; establish a case manager to provide wraparound services to opioid offenders who do not qualify for one of Cobb’s existing Accountability Courts; and establish an investigator to initiate deep-dive investigations into opioid dealers and distributors. Applied Research Services, Inc. will serve as the evaluator for the proposed project.
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