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Project Description

Ohio Butler County Children’s Services implemented two treatment models or approaches – The Family Drug Court (FDC) and the Multidisciplinary Treatment Team (MDTT) – to address the county’s outcome gaps. The major goal of CANSAFE was to closely match the county’s outcomes to the established national standards on removal, reunification, recurrence and reentry rates. To accomplish this goal, service gaps were identified and included: 1) lack of family-focused and substance abuse related group intervention that includes children; 2) lack of understanding of substance abuse issues by kinship and foster caregivers; 3) insufficient residential, intensive outpatient and outpatient substance abuse treatment; 4) lack of case management; and, 5) insufficient attention to ancillary and after-care needs.

Target Population

CANSAFE targeted:

  • Families with substance abuse by a caregiver as the primary contributor of child maltreatment and assessed to be in need of ongoing services beyond the investigation;
  • Families with open child welfare cases who had children at risk of placement, in paid placement and kinship care, as well as those who remained in their own homes;
  • The program excluded families receiving services through the Alternative Response pathway.

Major Project Goals

  • Reducing the number of removals
  • Increasing the number of safe reunifications
  • Reducing the reoccurrences of child maltreatment
  • Reducing the number of reentries into BCCS custody
  • Increasing parents’ successful substance abuse treatment outcomes
  • Decreasing parents’ use of substances
  • Increasing well-being of children
  • Increasing family functioning

Key Major Program Services

Parenting/Family Strengthening

  • Manualized/Evidence-Based Parenting Program – Celebrating Families!

Mental Health and Trauma Services for Adults

  • Mental Health Services and Psychiatric Care
  • Trauma-Informed Services
  • Trauma-Specific Services – Seeking Safety

Specialized Outreach, Engagement and Retention

  • Alcohol and Other Drugs Specialized Child Welfare Case Workers
  • Recovery Support Specialists

Partner Agencies and Organizations

The CANSAFE Project includes the following partners:

Child Welfare

  • Butler County Children Services-Lead Agency

Substance Abuse

  • Alcohol and Chemical Abuse Council of Butler County
  • Butler County Alcohol and Drug Addiction Services Board
  • Sojourner Recovery Services
  • The Next Right Thing


  • Butler County Juvenile Court

Mental Health

  • Butler County Mental Health Board
  • Children's Diagnostic Center
  • Community Behavioral Health


  • Butler County Department of Job and Family Services

Other Evaluation and Training

  • Miami University

Performance Indicators


Out-of-home Care: The MDTT group had the lowest rate of placement into foster care, 13.4 percent, as compared to 27.6 percent for the control group and 32.1 percent for the FDC group.

Child and Family Well-Being

Family Relationships and Functioning: Using the Protective Factors Survey, the evaluation revealed improvement in several domains for participants. For example, parents in the MDTT treatment group experienced increases in adaptive skills and strategies related to open communication, acceptance and problem solving and management. Parents in the FDC group also demonstrated improvement in Family Social Emotional Support and Nurturance.


Treatment Completion: The FDC group had the highest percentage of successful substance abuse treatment completion at 55.0 percent, compared to 32.3 percent for the MDTT group and 26.0 percent for the control group.

Substance Use: FDC participants significantly reduced their use of substances including alcohol, cocaine, marijuana and heroin. Similarly, the results for the MDTT group indicated statistically significant reductions for MDTT participants in their use of three of the commonly used substances including, cocaine, marijuana and heroin.

Sustainability Status

BCCS was able to maintain the component of the RPG program identified as the Substance Abuse Assessor/Utilization Review Manager. This position continued as an employee of BCCS and assists clients in receiving the most appropriate and timely treatment possible. Additionally, local capacity for collaboration was built and led to more sharing of resources and more effective communication between treatment providers and related agencies and governing bodies.

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Project Details

  • Lead Agency:
    Butler County Children Services (BCCS)
  • Geographic Area and Congressional District Served:
    Butler County; Congressional District 8
  • Federal Grant:
    $500,000/5 years (2007-2012)
  • Evaluation Design and Comparison Group Type:
    Experimental, Randomized Control Group
  • Proposed Number Served (5 years):
    Children: 230
    Adults: 216
    Families: 127
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