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Developing Collaborative Relationships

Developing Collaborative RelationshipsProfessionals working in child welfare, substance use treatment, the court system, healthcare, and community organizations should collaborate to best serve families affected by substance use disorders. Building collaborative relationships across agencies takes time, but research shows that these relationships result in better outcomes for children and families. One of the early steps in developing collaborative relationships may include identifying and addressing any tension due to differences of opinion about the overall mission and agency priorities among partners. Having conversations and providing training on each agency’s processes and protocols can clarify misunderstandings and provide an opportunity to discuss potential improvements on behalf of families. Developing collaborative relationships may also involve securing cross-systems communication, developing information-sharing agreements, and committing to joint outcomes. These activities can build the foundation of trust and agreement on common goals among partners.

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    • Screening and Assessment for Family Engagement, Retention, and Recovery (SAFERR)
      Screening and Assessment for Family Engagement, Retention, and Recovery (SAFERR)(PDF 3 MB)

      Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, 2006

      SAFERR is a collaborative model that helps child welfare professionals, substance use treatment providers, and family court professionals make better-informed decisions to identify parents in need of services and to better communicate important information across agencies. The focus of SAFERR is to improve outcomes for children and families affected by substance use disorders. The model also provides strategies to aid in fostering connections, communication techniques, and collaborative capacities across agencies. Sample screening and assessment tools assist staff at public and private agencies in responding to families in their caseloads.

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Contact Us

The National Center on Substance Abuse and Child Welfare offers free technical assistance to a various of systems on making policy and practice changes to improve outcomes for families affected by substance use disorders and involvement with child welfare services. To learn more about technical assistance services or if you have a question please email NCSACW at ncsacw@cffutures.org or call toll-free at 1–866–493–2758.

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