Brevard County has one of the highest rates of parental substance abuse in the State of Florida. In fact, between July 2013- June 2014, more than 5,000 intake reports involving substance abuse affecting nearly 3,700 Brevard children were conducted by the Department of Children and Families. To better address these high incidences of substance abuse and positively impact the lives of children and families involved in Brevard County’s Dependency System, IMPOWER recently designed and implemented a new model for case management services. The two-pronged approach includes both wraparound models and philosophies in addition to the use of four highly specialized substance abuse units (SAU). The SAU’s specialize in the recognition and effective treatment of substance abuse issues within children and families and have the flexibility to be modified based on the community’s needs. The goals of the units include: increasing rates of reunification, shortening the case length of stay, reducing additional involvement in the system of care and an overall increase in the successful completion of parental substance abuse treatment.

Each Substance Abuse Unit consists of a Care Manager Supervisor, Care Managers, Care Coordinators, and Utilization Review Specialist. Together, these substance abuse specialty teams receive training, coaching, clinical supervision and on-going consultation from the teams’ Masters Level Clinical Substance Abuse Specialist, Kim Hintz who has more than 14 years of experience in working in the substance abuse arena, mental health and residential and outpatient settings.

Studies show there is often a lack of cross-program knowledge between the child welfare system and substance abuse providers. IMPOWER’s model utilizes a cross-training system to ensure that all parties who participate in the care of the children and families in these specialty units understand the scope of work and the functions of both sides. It is IMPOWER’s goal through the SAU’s to better educate case management staff, community members, and families in the recognition of treatment and support of substance abuse. This collaborative approach ultimately helps to achieve the goals of the SAU and create positive outcomes for Brevard children and families.

(Submission by Marcie Dearth, VP of Development for IMPOWER)