Medication-Assisted Treatment

Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT)

Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT) is the use of medications, in combination with counseling and other therapeutic techniques, to provide a “whole-patient” approach to the treatment of substance use disorders. Medications relieve the withdrawal systems and psychological cravings that cause chemical imbalances in the body. Research has shown that when provided at the proper dose, medications used in MAT have no adverse effects on a person’s intelligence, mental capability, or physical functioning.

Effectively addressing the opioid epidemic requires a multi-systems collaborative approach by child welfare, law enforcement, court systems, substance use disorder treatment and mental health treatment, and healthcare providers. It is essential for these professionals to have an understanding of MAT as a viable option for parents/caregivers that have substance use disorders, especially opioid use disorders. The following resources assist communities, organizations, and agencies to better understand and implement evidence-based approaches to support safety, well-being, and recovery of children and families.

  • Highlighted Resource

    • Opioid Use Disorder and Civil Rights Video and Webinar Series

      The National Center on Substance Abuse and Child Welfare (NCSACW), together with the Office for Civil Rights (OCR), created this training series to provide information to child welfare and court professionals about federal disability rights protections that apply to some parents with an opioid or other substance use disorder who are involved with child welfare.

      Opioid use disorder is a serious epidemic affecting families and communities across the nation. Discrimination, bias, and stereotypes could lead to barriers to accessing medication-assisted treatment (MAT) that may be illegal and may also seriously delay access to critical health and human service programs. It is important for everyone to know that federal disability rights laws protect some people with opioid and other substance use disorders.

      National Center on Substance Abuse and Child Welfare and Office for Civil Rights, 2021

      Exploring Civil Rights Protections for Individuals in Recovery from an Opioid Use Disorder


      Part 1: Civil Rights Protections for Individuals with a Disability: The BasicsRunning Time: 00:24:53

      Part 1: Civil Rights Protections for Individuals with a Disability: The Basics

      This webinar provides information on protections for qualified individuals with a disability in the child welfare system and federal disability rights laws.


      Part 2: Civil Rights Protections for Individuals with an Opioid Use DisorderRunning Time: 00:19:20

      Part 2: Civil Rights Protections for Individuals with an Opioid Use Disorder

      This webinar discusses substance use disorders (SUDs), including Opioid Use Disorder, as a disability and federal disability rights protections for individuals receiving MAT.



      Medication-Assisted Treatment and Common MisconceptionsRunning Time: 00:05:02

      Medication-Assisted Treatment and Common Misconceptions

      This video offers an in-depth look at MAT while addressing common misconceptions about treatment. It highlights strategies that inform effective child welfare and court practices and addresses common misconceptions.



      Child Welfare Case Staffing: Social Worker and SupervisorRunning Time: 00:11:02

      Child Welfare Case Staffing: Social Worker and Supervisor

      This animated video simulates a child welfare worker and supervisor staffing a case involving a mother receiving MAT while pregnant. The staffing addresses misconceptions regarding MAT and how the mother may be protected under federal disability rights laws.



      Child Welfare Case Staffing: Child Welfare Court CaseRunning Time: 00:10:35

      Child Welfare Case Staffing: Child Welfare Court Case

      This animated video simulates a hearing between a judge, a child welfare worker, and attorneys. The court and child welfare professionals discuss visitation for a mother receiving MAT.


      Note: This video and webinar series is supported by contract number HHSS270201700001C from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), co-funded by Children’s Bureau (CB), Administration on Children, Youth and Families (ACYF). The views, opinions, and content of this video and webinar series are those of the presenters and do not necessarily reflect the views, opinions, or policies of SAMHSA, ACYF or the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).

      This video and webinar series is intended to be a training opportunity. The simulated dialogues are hypothetical of a child welfare staffing and a court scenario. For training purposes, the content and conversations in the animated videos, highlight opportunities for improved practice and the need for person-first language. Child welfare systems are complex and vary widely by state. These training resources are not a final agency action and do not legally bind persons or entities outside the federal government. Each state incorporates the requirements of federal legislation into its state child welfare laws. These state laws specify when and how child welfare and dependency courts will be involved in the lives of families. When a child is under court supervision, the dependency court is responsible for monitoring that child’s safety and ensuring that he or she has permanency in the caregiving relationship following the timelines specified in the Adoption and Safe Families Act (ASFA).

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