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Project Description

Montana In 2007, The Center was awarded one of the 53 Regional Partnership Grants (RPG), which allowed for implementation of a supervised/supported housing program (Second Chance Homes - SCH) for parents with substance use disorders and their children. Between March 2008 and March 2012, SCH provided long-term transitional housing and a continuum of in-home support services to sixty-four (64) families (68 adults & 124 children). The community saw tremendous success for families served, growth in collaborative partnerships, and the addition of a number of family centered services not previously available in the community. For the extension grant, The Center proposed to build on knowledge gained and lessons learned during the original RPG by implementing program enhancements that moved the initial project collaboration to a more widespread system model. This included l) the addition of a licensed addiction counselor (LAC) to work directly with Child Protective Services (CPS), 2) a targeted effort to combine and re-purpose state level fiscal resources to sustain supported housing, and 3) a more targeted partnership with Housing Authority of Billings to ensure independent housing availability. Additionally, based on lessons learned in the initial RPG, The Center proposed a data-driven modification to transitional housing services, providing earlier placement and shorter lengths of stay in transitional housing, and greater emphasis on community-based, in-home supports/safety planning. Finally, the project proposed increased resources dedicated to evaluation activities.

The primary objective of the extension was to sustain SCH transitional, community-based housing services as part of a continuum of family-centered, and trauma-informed services (Family Housing Matters - FHM). Services proposed for the extension grant intended to increase the well-being, improve permanency, and enhance the safety of children in out-of-home care or at imminent risk for being placed in out-of-home care due to a parent or caretaker's substance use disorder. The project also sought to maintain and expand successful interagency collaboration and promote sustainable systems change through intensified integration of Alcohol or other Drug (AOD) and Child Welfare (CPS) services at both the local and state level through local team meetings and state level inter-agency dialogue.

Targeted Population

Family Housing Matters/SCH Targeted:

  • Families identified by CPS as at imminent risk of having children placed in out-of-home care (present danger is idetnified), or who had a child in out of home care as a result of parent/caregiver substance use disorder.

Major Program Goals

Goal 1: Continue enhancement of community treatment services through transitional housing and community based opportunities for parents and children

Goal 2: Promote children's safety by reducing substance abuse and subsequent child abuse and neglect among SSCH residents/graduates

Goal 3: Establish permanency for children in the child welfare system; avoiding removal of children whenever possible and reunifying children with parents more rapidly than in families outside the proposed living programs

Goal 4: Address family social, relational, educational, and economic needs by assessing for and then addressing needs through strength based planning and programming to aid parents in leading a substance free life

Goal 5: Strengthen the capacity of families to promote structure, guidance, and nurturance for their children

Goal 6: Increase participating families’ overall mental, physical, and dental health status/well-being

Goal 7: Develop and evaluate an operational model for short-term transitional housing environments to be replaced in this and other regions

Major Program Services

Case Management and In-Home Services

  • Intensive/Coordinated Case Management
  • Family Group Decision Making/Family Case Conferencing

Parenting/Family Strengthening

  • Standard and Enhanced Parenting Skills Training/Education
  • Evidence-Based Parenting or Family Strengthening Program – Celebrating Families!

Mental Health and Trauma Services for Adults

  • Mental Health Services
  • Trauma-Informed Services
  • Trauma-Specific Services – Seeking Safety, Untangling Relationships

Specialized Outreach, Engagement, and Retention

  • Cognitive Behavioral Strategies – Contingency Management, Motivational Interviewing/Motivational Enhancement Therapy

Family-Centered Substance Abuse Treatment

Screening and Assessment – Child Welfare and Other Children’s Issues

  • Screening and Assessment for Child Welfare Issues
  • Screening and Assessment for Trauma
  • Other Specialized Child Screening and Assessment – Neuropsychological evaluations, Developmental, Behavioral/Socio-Emotional, Mental Health/Psychological, Medical/Dental

Screening and Assessment – Substance Use and Other Adult Issues

  • Screening and Assessment for Substance Use Disorders
  • Other Specialized Adult Screening and Assessment – Parenting, Mental Health/Co-Occurring Disorders, Trauma and Neuropsychological Evaluations, Adverse Childhood Experiences

Housing Services

  • Housing Support and Assistance Services
  • Transitional, Interim or Temporary Short-Term Housing
  • Linkages to Permanent Supportive Housing

Cross-Systems Collaboration

  • Clinical and Program Training
  • Cross-systems Policies and Procedures
  • Regular Joint Case Staffing Meetings
  • Cross-systems Information Sharing and Data Analysis
  • Partner Meetings – Regional Partnership and Program Management


  • Linkages to Substance Abuse Treatment for Adults including Intensive Outpatient, Non-Intensive Outpatient or Other Step-Down, and Aftercare/Continuing Care/Recovery Community Support Services
  • Linkages to Trauma Services for Children/Youth including Neurodevelopmental Model, Parent Child Interaction Therapy, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, and Child Parent Psychotherapy

Partner Agencies and Organizations

The RPG encouraged service providers to develop and/or strengthen cross-system linkages between substance abuse treatment, child welfare, dependency court, and other service systems. The FHM project included the following partners:

Child Welfare

  • Montana Child and Family Services Division

Substance Abuse

  • The Center for Children and Families


  • Yellowstone County Family Drug Treatment Court (YCFDTC)
  • State of Montana Thirteenth Judicial District


Criminal Justice, Law Enforcement, Legal and Related Organizations

  • South Central Region IV Probation and Parole (P&B)
  • Department of Corrections

Other Community and Child and Family Services

  • Family Support Network
  • Best Beginnings Council of Yellowstone County


  • Housing Authority of Billings

Mental Health

  • South Central Montana Mental Health Center

Health Services

  • Department of Public Health


This project proposed a quasi-experimental design. The treatment group consisted of clients receiving FHM services. The comparison group consisted of clients receiving typical child welfare and substance abuse services during the RPG grant period but not the RPG enhanced services.

Grantees measured performance indicators in the following domains: safety, permanency, child and adult well-being, and adult recovery. For additional information regarding program outcomes, please contact key personnel.

Sustainability Strategies and Activities

The RPG-I award and extension allowed this grantee to create and sustain an agency designed to meet the needs of families involved in both the child welfare and substance use treatment systems. Staff was invited to sit on several state-level committees, providing opportunities for continued education and advocacy to support families previously served through RPG funding. A fee-for-service contract with Child Protective Services supported the continuation of in-home services. The Center was a recipient of a RPG-II grant, which has allowed the grantee to move the RPG Program goals and objectives forward.

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Project Details

  • Lead Agency:
    The Center for Children and Families (The Center)
    Billings, Montana
  • Geographic Area and Congressional District Served:
    State: Montana
    City of Billings; 1st Congressional District; Rural
  • Federal Grant:
    2 years
  • Proposed Number Served (2 years):
    Children: 173
    Adults: 93
    Families: 88
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