Statewide Services

Womens and Children's Services


Women’s Services Practice Improvement Collaborative


In October 2004, the Connecticut Department of Mental Health & Addiction Services (DMHAS) launched a three-year initiative – The Women’s Services Practice Improvement Collaborative - designed to enhance its current behavioral health service system for women.  The goal was to improve the quality of services for women receiving substance abuse treatment in Connecticut, and thus the treatment outcomes, by participation in a recovery-oriented treatment system of care, incorporating current best practices in gender-responsive and trauma-informed programming.  A best practice system of care for women, supported by system-level policies and standards and program-level practices is currently under development.  Through this initiative, there was increased interaction and knowledge exchange between community-based service providers, persons in recovery, the research community and policy-makers.  


DMHAS and a group of stakeholders that include persons in recovery and professional staff from the specialty programs for women and children, as well as national experts in the field, met early on to discuss how we currently define standards of care, and how to develop strategies to improve this care. It was also important to consider ways to measure success after implementing the changes.  A series of retreats were held to develop standards and best practices that are gender-responsive and trauma-informed.  As a result, three products have been developed:


An Outcomes Study to measure the effectiveness of these changes was implemented in March 2006. The Outcome Measures were designed to be applied post discharge from a specialty program for women and children. After DMHAS pilots and refines these measures, final outcomes measures for ongoing monitoring will be implemented.  Women are interviewed at intervals of three months and six months post discharge. Outcome measures include:


  • reunification with her children;
  • safety in the living situation;
  • presence of trauma symptoms;
  • satisfaction with recovery. 

In the next phase of this initiative, a statewide system of care that is gender-responsive and trauma-informed will be developed.  To learn more about this initiative, contact Karen Ohrenberger, Director of Early Intervention & Speciality Services, at:   



Content Last Modified on 3/31/2014 2:19:25 PM