IPAC Hosts Professional Conference on Building Supportive Communities Around Those Affected by the Opioid Epidemic

IPAC hosted No One Left Behind: Building Supportive Communities Around Children and Families Affected by the Opioid Crisis, a professional conference and town hall Tuesday, April 18, 2017. 

The event featured speakers working throughout the health and recovery field, including keynote speaker Tina Willauer, Director of Sobriety Treatment and Recovery Teams (S.T.A.R.T.) of the Kentucky Department for Community Based Services

The program is a child protective services program for families with parental substance abuse and child abuse and neglect, which focuses on helping parents get sober and keep children in the home when it is possible and safe. Willauer discussed her program’s community-based approach to treatment and recovery as well as S.T.A.R.T.’s early intervention approach to working clients into their program.

“We have a lot of missed opportunities in our system,” said Willauer discussing S.T.A.R.T.’s timely referral treatment. According to Willauer, timely access led to parents and caregivers staying in treatment and kept the majority of children at risk of removal in their parents’ custody. Timely referral is the first step in S.T.A.R.T.’s attempt to “raise the bottom,” or ensure patients receive care and recovery before major concerns arise.

Compared to typical CPS programs, S.T.A.R.T. has better outcomes, with roughly twice the sobriety rates, half as many kids in foster care and, for every dollar spent on the program, an estimated $2.52 saved in foster care.

“We can longer say we don’t know what works,” Willauer said.

Also speaking at the conference was Andrea Boxill of the Governor’s Cabinet Opiate Action Team at the Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services Angela Sausser of PCSAO who described the opioid epidemic’s impact on Ohio, the impact it’s had on children services, and Ohio’s response to the epidemic so far. 

Director of Health Recovery Services Dr. Joe Gay, Director of Children’s Initiatives for Attorney General DeWine LeeAnne Cornyn, Crystal Ward Allen of Casey Family Programs, Mindy Vance of OMHAS, and Ana Beltran of Generations United also spoke throughout the event.

The conference was attended by 108 advocates and professionals from across the region. In the evening, the conference was followed by a free and open to the public community town hall at the same location. 

Discussion at the town hall was held as a forum where speakers from throughout the day facilitated discussion and fielded questions from public attendees. A large part of the conversation focused on the ways community groups can encourage and support recovery and the preservation of families affected by the epidemic.

You can check out more photos from the event in our gallery here.