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Prevention services program expands to 56 counties

Prevention services program expands to 56 counties

Ohio START announced the expansion of its model to include Perry and Muskingum counties, marking the addition of a sixth cohort and bringing the total number of participating counties to 56.

Ohio START (Sobriety, Treatment and Reducing Trauma) is an evidence-based intervention that helps families struggling with both substance use disorder and children services involvement by creating teams of caseworkers, family peer mentors and behavioral health providers to support them.

START is an evidence-based prevention service designed to keep children safely with family when possible so that they do not have to enter foster care. “Ohio START has helped to preserve and reunite families across the state by providing tailored support services and empowering parents in their recovery journey,” said Ohio START Director Fawn Gadel. “We are excited to extend the reach of the Ohio START model to even more families as we introduce Cohort 6.”

The national START model is rated on the federal Family First Prevention Services Clearinghouse and is being further evaluated for its effectiveness in Ohio, an early epicenter of the opioid and addiction epidemic. “Perry County Children Services is both excited and proud to have the opportunity to provide additional support and healing for families through Ohio START. Access to family peer mentors with lived experience will enhance service provision and give hope to families struggling with substance use disorders in our communities,” said Amy Frame, executive director of Perry County Children Services.

In addition to the new cohort, Madison, Montgomery, and Pike counties will begin pre-implementation to assess how the Ohio START model could be used in their agencies to address the needs of families with co-occurring substance use disorder and child maltreatment.

Ohio START began in 2017 as a pilot project created by then Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine. It operated in 17 counties in the first year, adding 15 counties in 2018, 14 counties in 2019, 6 counties in 2020 and 4 counties in 2022. Ohio START is housed at and led by the Public Children Services Association of Ohio (PCSAO).

Visit the Ohio START website to learn more about the program.