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Handle with C.A.R.E.

Pregnant_WomanHandle with C.A.R.E. Initiative

Coordinating Access, Responding Effectively to Maternal Substance Use

Virginia’s Handle with C.A.R.E. Initiative (Coordinating Access, Responding Effectively to Maternal Substance Use) is an interagency effort to identify a coordinated, state level response to maternal substance use.  Pregnant and parenting women who use substances often have complex, multifaceted problems which bring them to the attention of multiple agencies and systems (e.g., health care, child welfare, behavioral health, criminal justice).  Identifying and engaging these women in services can be very difficult; however, efforts tend to be most successful when systems work together. Two recent state reports focused on the deadly consequences that sometimes occur with maternal substance use and the difficulties engaging these families in care.  Both reports recommended that Virginia’s systems and agencies work together to improve their response to maternal substance use.

In the fall of 2014, the Commonwealth was invited to apply for In Depth Technical Assistance (IDTA): Responses for Substance Exposed Infants, which was offered by the National Center for Substance Use and Child Welfare (NCSACW).  Virginia was accepted and is one of six states participating in this federal initiative.  We identified three goals for the Commonwealth and plan to use IDTA to evaluate our current efforts to serve substance exposed newborns and their mothers, develop new strategies that will enable us to better respond as a system, and implement recommendations from our interagency workgroup plan.

DBHDS convened the Handle with C.A.R.E. interagency workgroup in January 2015.  The workgroup will meet four times to develop an ongoing work plan for the Commonwealth to enhance our efforts to serve substance using pregnant and parenting women and their families.

***PLEASE NOTE*** - Last week, Congresswoman Clark (D -MA), Congressman Steve Stivers (R-OH), Senator Mitch McConnell (R-Ky) and Senator Bob Casey (D-PA) introduced the Protecting Our Infants Act of 2015 which takes proactive steps to help hospitals diagnose and treat newborns who have been exposed to opiates in utero. Click here to review the Act.

Handle with C.A.R.E. In-Depth Technical Assistance Goals

Handle with C.A.R.E. Resource Library

Handle with C.A.R.E. Workgroup and Work Plan

Recent State Reports