Heartland Family Service (HFS) partnered with Nebraska Families Collaborative (NFC) and the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services (NDHHS) to begin Better Together, a comprehensive support service program for families affected by substance abuse in Omaha, Nebraska. Better Together seeks to prevent infant abandonment by increasing wellbeing, improving permanency, and enhancing the safety of infants and young children who have been exposed to dangerous drugs.
Utilizing a community-based treatment setting, Better Together provides intensive outpatient and outpatient substance abuse treatment to families impacted by substance abuse. NDHHS and NFC identify families as being at risk for out-of-home placement of their children and recommend the appropriate services. The target population is families in which the mother is pregnant and using drugs and/or alcohol, families where infants screen positive for illegal substances, or families with young children who are at risk for placement due to parental substance abuse. HFS treats each family as a unit, providing comprehensive treatment and support services for the parents, infants, young children, older children, and any self-identified family members.
Better Together services include the following:
- Intensive outpatient and outpatient substance abuse treatment.
- Mental health treatment.
- Case management.
- Parenting education.
- Peer support.
- Family therapy.
- Housing assistance.
- Infant and child developmental screening and intervention.
- Physical health care coordination and support.
- Transportation assistance.
Families live in a community-based treatment setting, in individually-leased apartments, for up to two years. As they move through the program, their treatment becomes progressively less intensive. Better Together outcomes include improved child well-being, sustained parental recovery from substance abuse, and reunification of families.
Harder, Jeanette; Bird, Heather; McQuillen, Jodi; Bai, Jieru; Ashley, Pamela; Forrest, Joseph; and Scarpa, Natalie, "2017 Final Evaluation Report for Better Together" (2017). Reports. 17.
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