DCF: Substance Use Services

Substance Use Services

DCF's mission of supporting "healthy, safe, smart and strong" families is fully achieved by embedding addiction prevention, intervention and recovery into the agency's 2012-2015 DCF Strategic Plan





 2012-2015 DCF Strategic Plan


  • Strategy 3:  Develop or expand regional networks of in-home and community services
  • Strategy 5:  Address the needs of specific populations and work to resolve inequities 
Core Area of Work 5.4:  Families with multi-generation and/or chronic substance abuse, domestic violence or mental health problems and/or have an incarcerated parent


The Division of Substance Abuse and Family Violence Services will address these needs by providing an exemplary recovery-oriented system of care to all children & families that is:

  • culturally informed,
  • engaging, empowering, and strengths-based
  • trauma-informed and gender responsive, 
  • developmentally appropriate,
  • community-based,
  • family driven/centered and child/youth guided
  • evidence-based, flexible, and innovative,
  • seamless, comprehensive, integrated, and coordinated and is designed to:
    • Prevent the negative impact of addiction and Promote health, wellness and resiliency for our children, families, and community at large
    • Intervene and support children and caregivers who need services to recover from addiction related problems
    • Sustain Recovery for children, adults and families by providing recovery support, recognition that recovery is possible, hope, and the elimination of stigma in our communities 

  {Prevention Intervention Recovery}



DCF requires all funded adolescent substance abuse treatment providers to implement the Global Appraisal of Individual Needs Q3 (GAIN-Q3, standard version) at intake to treatment and at discharge. The GAIN-Q3 is a brief assessment used to identify and address a wide range of problems in clinical and general populations. The GAIN-Q3 has been normed on and can be used with clients age 12 and older.

The GAIN-Q3 contains nine screeners that estimate the severity of problems and the recency of treatment participation in each life area represented, plus additional items that record information on the frequency of clients' service utilization and behaviors during the preceding 90 days. The GAIN-Q3 provides information that can be used to monitor clients' progress, it computes a quality of life measure, and includes indices on the client's prevalence of problems and quarterly costs to society. A six-item measure on current life satisfaction is also included. Once the Q3 interview is completed, there are a number of reports that can be generated to support clinical decision making and referrals. The average time to administer the GAIN-Q3 Standard is about 25 to 35 minutes.

The GAIN-Q3 is currently available only in English. A Spanish translation is currently in development.


SERVICESOverview of Funded Services


DCF funds a broad mix of substance abuse treatment services including:

  • outpatient, intensive in-home services and residential care for adolescents aged 12 and older,
  • intensive in-home re-entry services for youthful offenders transitioning from secure facilities back to the community,
  • specialized treatment approaches for priority populations such as Transition Age Youth and youth with problem sexual behavior, and
  • intensive in-home treatment services and recovery support services for caregivers involved with child protective services.

Detailed Service Descriptions Chart

Services Funded by Region


Click on a region below to see which services are available in each DCF Region:



Section 405 of the Adoption Safe Family Act required the Secretary of Health and Human Services to submit a report to Congress on substance abuse and child welfare. This report, called Blending Perspectives, recommended building collaborative working relationships between the child welfare and the substance abuse service systems for the purposes of:  

  1. assuring timely access to care,
  2. improving treatment engagement,
  3. retention and ongoing recovery supports,
  4. enhancing children's services, and
  5. bridging informational gaps.

In response to this report Connecticut CGS (17a-453c) created "Project SAFE," an interagency collaboration between the Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services (DMHAS) and the Department of Children and Families (DCF). Project SAFE's main objective is to evaluate the needs of families for substance abuse and other behavioral health services and to provide such services in a coordinated manner. According to the legislation, "Such collaboration shall include, but not be limited to, evaluations, service needs, service delivery, housing, medical coverage, vocation and employment support and other related recovery support services…"

Advanced Behavioral Health (ABH) is jointly funded by DCF and DMHAS to serve as the Administrative Services Organization for Project SAFE. As such, ABH manages all referrals from DCF to Project SAFE, collects screening information, manages utilization of treatment services, oversees quality management, and serves as the claims administrator. ABH credentials and contracts with a network of community based non-profit providers to deliver Project SAFE services at 60 sites throughout Connecticut. In FY12 ABH processed over 14,000 requests for Project SAFE services including substance abuse evaluations, drug testing, individual and family treatment, intensive outpatient and partial hospitalization services.

DCF has implemented the GAIN-Short Screener to quickly and accurately identify families involved with child protective services who would benefit from Project SAFE treatment services, and to triage referrals to Project SAFE to screening and evaluation services or to treatment intake services.

The Recovery Specialist Voluntary Program (RSVP) and Recovery Case Management (RCM) services provide recovery supports to Project SAFE clients to assist them with problems related to accessing treatment and social supports, housing, education, employment, and basic needs. RSVP and RCM staff also assist clients with navigating the treatment system, child welfare and the courts. In addition, RSVP, which targets families who have had a child removed under an OTC and where substance use was cited as a factor in the removal, conducts random monitored drug testing and requires execution of the RSVP Agreement which affords specific protections to the clients in support of their recovery. 



Content Last Modified on 1/13/2016 2:41:27 PM