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Project Abstract

Minnesota The Minnesota SEI project resulted from concerns brought forward by tribal partners in Minnesota, focusing on the crisis of American Indian babies born dependent on opiates. The State has seen increased rates of American Indian women being admitted to treatment programs for heroin and prescription opioids, as well as increased rates of those identified as utilizing these drugs during their pregnancies. This has resulted in a significant increase of babies being born with Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome. Further data collection requested by tribal partners identified that many pregnant women in need of services were not accessing prenatal care and therefore not being identified until the birth of their child.

Numerous community and planning meetings with tribal partners within State agencies identified a number of specific needs, including: earlier identification of women using opiates during pregnancy; better alignment of systems to address this issue efficiently; access to treatment for these women; and a need for community consensus or agreement about what kinds of treatment are appropriate for this population.

With the support of this Substance Exposed Infants In-Depth Technical Assistance (SEI-IDTA) initiative, the State expects to improve communication across systems and employ a unified response to this crisis, which is likely yield the best results for these women and their children.

Major Program Goals

  • Goal 1: Screening and Assessment: Pregnant women, substance exposed infants and their families are identified in a consistent, uniform, and timely manner across all systems.
  • Goal 2: Joint Accountability and Shared Outcomes: Partners have developed a collaborative practice approach to serving substance exposed infants and their families that intersect each of their systems.
  • Goal 3: Services for pregnant women, substance exposed infants and their family: Partners have agreed upon evidence-based practices and programs that meet the needs of the target populations and ahve processes in place for monitoring use and effectiveness of these programs.

Administrative Structure

The lead agency is Minnesota Department of Human Services. The Project Liaison and primary point of contact is Angie Hirsch, the American Indian Mental Health Coordinator. Don Moore, the Supervisor of the American Indian Section of the Alcohol and Drug Abuse Division is an additional point of contact. Ms. Hirsch will lead the SEI-IDTA Core Team meetings along with the assigned Change Leader, Kari Earle, from the NCSACW. Ms. Hirsch 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 the Minnesota initiative:

Susbstance Abuse and Mental Health Services

  • Minnesota Department of Human Services
  • Alcohol and Drug Abuse Division
  • American Indian Section
Child Welfare
  • Minnesota Department of Human Services
  • ICWA Consultant
Health Services
  • Minnesota Department of Health
  • American Indian Mental Health Advisory Council

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