New Jersey has been a pioneer in cross-system perinatal collaboration, as evidenced by its early establishment in 1987 of the Governor’s Council on the Prevention of Developmental Disabilities, of which the Task Force on Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders and other Perinatal Addictions is a standing committee. In 1989, the Department of Health established the Risk Reduction System whereby trained alcohol and drug counselors were placed into prenatal care clinics and hospitals. In 1997 the Department of Human Services developed the Child Protection Substance Abuse Initiative, which funds Certified Alcohol and Drug Abuse Counselors to assess and provide case management, support, and transportation to pregnant women and child welfare involved parents. In 2004, New Jersey became the first state to offer a certification specialty in Perinatal Addictions. However, some of these legacy perinatal efforts have been consolidated or reduced over the years, and the impact is now magnified with New Jersey’s growing opioid problem.
New Jersey participated in SAMHSA’s Prescription Drug Abuse Policy Academy and is receiving technical assistance to align and coordinate the numerous initiatives that are underway to address prescription drug abuse. The State is developing a comprehensive, unified plan where each initiative supports and enhances the other. The plan will include a focus on Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome (NAS) and Substance Exposed Infants (SEI), calling for the development of uniform policies/guidelines to address the entire spectrum and improve collaboration to address the multiple SEI intervention opportunities, from pre-pregnancy continuing throughout a child’s developmental milestones and parental treatment.
The SEI-IDTA initiative is expected to build on New Jersey’s experience with and lessons learned from a Monmouth county walkthrough, which revealed both effective practices and unexpected, yet significant, SEI gaps. State partners will use the resulting product as a roadmap to guide efforts to address the entire spectrum of SEI at each intervention point and serve as a model for other New Jersey counties to address New Jersey’s growing NAS/SEI problem.
Major Program Goals
- Goal 1: Increase perinatal SEI screening at multiple intervention points (health system, SUD/MH system).
- Goal 2: Leveraging existing programs and policy mechanisms to collaboratively increase the rate at which women screening positive on the 4p's Plus get connected for a comprehensive assessment such as through establishing formal warm-handoffs and other safety net measures.
- Goal 3: Leveraging existing programs and policy mechanisms to collaboratively increase the rate at which women delivering SEIs and their babies and any other eligible children receive early support services for which they are eligible.
The lead agency is New Jersey Department of Human Services. The Project Liaison and primary point of contact is Christine Scalise, the Manager of Special Initiatives, Women, and Families within DHS. Ms. Scalise will lead the SEI-IDTA Core Team meetings along with the assigned Change Leaders, Linda Carpenter and Jill Gresham, from NCSACW. Ms. Scalise will assume responsibility for communications between the SEI-IDTA Core Team and the NCSACW. Designated Core Team members will report SEI-IDTA updates to the Oversight Committee.
Key Partner Agencies
The Substance Exposed Infants In-Depth Technical Assistance program encourages effective collaboration and partnerships, which are essential to systems improvement and change. Cross-system linkages between substance abuse treatment, child welfare, early childhood and education, dependency court, and other service systems are essential to the SEI-IDTA scope of work.
Currently, the following partners are involved in New Jersey:
- New Jersey Department of Human Services (DHS)
- DHS Office of Program Integrity & Accountability
- DHS Office of Licensing
- Division of Mental Health and Addiction Services
- Division of Family Development
- Office for the Prevention of Developmental Disabilities
Courts and Legal Services
- New Jersey Department of Children and Families (DCF)
- Division of Family and Community Partnerships
- Office of Early Childhood Services
- Maternal Child Health Unit
Substance Abuse Treatment Providers
- New Jersey Attorney General's Office
- Jersey Shore Addiction Services Healthcare
- Family Guidance Center: Family & Children's Services
- Organization for Recovery
- New Jersey Department of Health (DOH)
- Division of Family Health Services
- Weisman Children's Rehabilitation Hospital
- Central Jersey Family Health Consortium
- South Jersey Perinatal Cooperative
- Rutgers FASD Training Center
- Rutgers School of Nursing, Maternal Child Health Services
- FASD Clinical Educational Representative