June 10, 2013

Barbara Rachelson Presents on the Vermont Regional Partnership Grant on Capitol Hill

Posted in DCF, Employees, From The Executive Director, Residential, RPG tagged , , , , at 1:20 pm by Lund

Barbara (on far right of presenter's table) at the policy briefing on Capitol Hill.

Barbara (on far right of presenter’s table) at the policy briefing on Capitol Hill.

Thursday June 6th, Washington D.C. – Barbara Rachelson, Executive Director of Lund, spoke to over 110 staffers, including representatives from Congressman Welch and Senator Sanders’ offices, at a Capitol Hill Policy Briefing today on ‘Substance Use Disorders in Child Welfare’. Rachelson’s focus was on the outcomes of the Regional Partnership Grant awarded by the federal government to Lund and the Vermont’s Department of Children and Families Family Services Division’s Burlington District Office (DCF) for implementation between 2007-2012.

“The families we serve have multi-faceted, complex needs. Families are often not only struggling with addiction and mental health disorders, but additionally most of our mothers have experienced significant trauma through domestic violence, child abuse, neglect and poverty. Through Lund’s continuum of services and community partnerships we can provide our mothers and their families with treatment, education and family support services they crucially need for their recovery, as well as for their successful development as parents and productive members of our community,” says Rachelson as she introduced Lund’s programs and services to the audience on Capitol Hill.

Barbara spoke of the positive outcomes of Vermont’s Regional Partnership Grant, “As an RPG grantee from 2007 – 2012, we were able to demonstrate that to ensure the safety, permanency and well-being of children affected by their parent’s substance abuse, our community requires a cross system approach that is intentional about its collaboration and integrated in its service delivery.” Vermont’s RPG addressed systemic and practice challenges that are barriers to optimal family outcomes. Rachelson reported in DC, “The grant enabled Lund to partner with our child welfare agency in a way new to Vermont. The collaborative results of Vermont’s RPG are outstanding. Although child and adult outcomes were significant and positive for families served. It is important to emphasize that the collaborative structures developed have shifted the culture of how systems are currently working together in our community.”

“Families have told us time and time again – the single most important factor for their progress in treatment and improvement in family functioning is having the help available when they need it.  The service delivery model implemented by Vermont’s RPG helps us to meet this need,” said Rachelson to federal policy makers highlighting the important potential of this model to be replicated elsewhere in the state.

Despite the successful outcomes of this grant, funding has not been renewed. Lund and DCF are working to identify new sources of support to continue the positive impact of Vermont’s RPG. The legacies of this grant in the Burlington area are the development of an innovative service delivery model that is the foundation for a more coordinated approach to child welfare for families affected by parental substance use disorders. The children and families who participated in the grant experienced 1) a measureable increase in well being, 2) increased timeliness of treatment and service delivery; and 3) improved case management services for families.

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