CT Clearinghouse

SEPI-CT

About the Initiative

 SEPI-CT (Substance Exposed Pregnancy Initiative of Connecticut)  aims to strengthen capacity at the community, provider, and systems levels to improve the safety, health, and well-being of substance exposed infants and support the recovery of pregnant and parenting birthing people and their families. This initiative is funded by CT DMHAS and CT DCF.

The work is guided by the 5 Year Strategic Plan (2022-2027). The priority areas and goals of the plan are:

  1. CAPTA and Family Care Plans
    • Goal: Promote broad understanding of CAPTA reporting requirements and the value of Family Care Plans
  2. Screening and Brief Intervention
    • Goal: Improve screening for substance misuse and substance use disorders and to provide appropriate services through provider education and enhancement of statewide referral systems
  3. Marketing and Training
    • Goal: Create and enhance opportunities for substance exposed pregnancy professional development and promote statewide awareness and knowledge
  4. Treatment, Recovery, and Wellness Support
    • Goal: Ensure birthing people, children and families have access to SEPI-CT and SUD treatment, recovery, and support resources

This work is advanced through the following components:

  • Executive Team: The SEPI-CT Program Manager, together with DCF and DMHAS leadership, form the Executive Implementation Team. This group meets biweekly to maintain consistent communication on the ongoing status of the initiative and provide guidance and support to the Program Manager as needed.
    • Executive Team: Kimberly Karanda, Ph.D., LCSW (CT DMHAS), Shelly Nolan, MA, LPC (CT DMHAS), Siobhan Feliciano, MS, LPC, LADC (CT DMHAS), Rebecca Petersen, LCSW (CT DMHAS), Kris Robles, LCSW (CT DCF), Judith Stonger, MA, CPS (Wheeler), Bridget Aliaga, MPH, CPS (Wheeler), Mary Fitzgerald, LMSW (Wheeler)
  • Core Team: The Core team is a group of stakeholders who provide leadership and direction for the project. These individuals and agency representatives have expertise in maternal and child health, behavioral health, substance use, child welfare, and advocacy for women and birthing people. This group meets quarterly (July, October, January, April) to discuss updates and emerging work.
  • Work Groups: The workgroups support the deliverables of each respective priority area. Each workgroup meets once a month.

It should also be mentioned that the components above are also supported in partnership with various existing and ongoing DHMAS and DCF programs and services that overlap with the goals of this initiative.

For more information on the initiative please contact Bridget Aliaga-Briand (SEI-FASD Program Manager) at baliaga@wheelerclinic.org 

CAPTA/CARA Legislation & Family Care Plans

The Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (CAPTA) was originally enacted in 1974 and reauthorized in 2010 to include a policy requiring states to implement a notification process to DCF when a baby is born who has been prenatally exposed to substances. The Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act (CARA) was signed into federal law in 2016, with the aim to address the problem of opioid addiction in the United States and offered amendments to CAPTA.

Changes to federal legislation around the Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (CAPTA) and Comprehensive Addiction Recovery Act (CARA) have outlined new state mandates requiring data collection around the impact of substance exposed infants and development of plans of safe care nationwide. In CT, effective March 15, 2019, hospitals are required to submit a notification to the Department of Children and Families (DCF) at the time of the birth event when an infant is believed to have been substance exposed and/or displays withdrawal symptoms. Currently, there is updated legislation pending that changes the name of Plans of Safe Care to Family Care Plan.

A Plan of Safe Care or Family Care Plan provides action steps for the infant’s caregivers to ensure the child’s safety, well-being and development. It is also a resource that can help pregnant women and birthing people access needed services and supports for themselves and their babies. Family Care Plans should be reviewed over time as the family’s and infant’s needs change.

In addition to identifying areas of need for the infant, the Family Care Plan organizes referrals to services for parents such as recovery supports, medical/behavioral healthcare, material/financial support, and other resources required to meet those needs.

For information specific to CAPTA and/or Family Care Plans please contact Mary Fitzgerald (SEI-FASD Program Specialist/Family Care Plan Coordinator) at mkfitzgerald@wheelerclinic or visit:

SEI-FASD Strategic Plans

SEI-FASD 5 Year Strategic Plan (2016-2021)

SEI-FASD 5 Year Strategic Plan (2022-2027)

SEI-FASD 5 Year Strategic Plan Executive Summary (2022-2027)

SEI-FASD Initiative Updates

State FY 2022

SEPI CT FY 2022 Annual Report

SEPI CT FY 2022 Digital Campaigns Report

Local Resources 

  • 24/7 Addiction Help Line: DMHAS has established the 24/7 Access Line to facilitate access to treatment for substance use disorders. Individuals from anywhere in Connecticut may call to help with linkage to residential detox. The Access Line is able to prioritize transportation services for detox. The Access Line may also be able arrange transportation to DMHAS addiction residential treatment (although transportation services are prioritized for detox). 
  • Child Development Infoline: Child Development Infoline (CDI) is a specialized unit of United Way of Connecticut. Messages can be left 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and are returned promptly. This service is free and confidential, with multi-lingual and TTY capacity. Care Coordinators are available to answer the phone Monday through Friday from 8am-6pm, except on holidays. Phone:1-800-505-7000 Fax: 860-571-6853
  • CT Birth to 3: Birth to Three supports families when they have concerns about their children's development

  • CT Community for Addiction Recovery: CCAR is a centralized resource in CT for all things recovery. Whether you are contemplating a life in recovery, are new to recovery or are in long-term recovery, CCAR is here to help you to navigate the recovery community, by connecting you with others in recovery and providing access to area support services.

  • CT 211 (Family Care Plans):  A Family Care Plan lists services and resources you and your family could use to support your infant’s ongoing health, development, safety and well-being. The plan also includes your family’s physical, social and emotional health; substance use disorder treatment; parenting skills; and readiness to care for your infant.

  • CT DMHAS Addiction Services Bed Availability: The Connecticut Addiction Services website was developed to help people in Connecticut get timely access to detox, residential addiction treatment and recovery house beds. The information on this site is updated daily in an effort to keep the public informed on the availability of DMHAS funded treatment facilities.

  • Family Care Plan Template
  • Live Loud: LiveLOUD supports coordinated efforts to confront and prevent the increase in opioid addiction across the state of Connecticut
  • NORA: NORA (Naloxone + Overdose Response App) is a free app from the Connecticut Department of Public Health. Use NORA to prevent, treat, and report opioid overdose.
  • PROUD (Parents Recovering from Opioid Use Disorder): PROUD aims to serve pregnant and postpartum women and birthing people with substance use disorders, including opioid use disorder, in the Greater Hartford and New Britain areas. PROUD teams will complete a family needs assessment with eligible women and birthing people and their household members to create a plan to address individual and family needs around: substance use and mental health treatment, connections to medical providers (including prenatal care), employment, housing, and recovery support.
  • SAFE-Family Recovery (SAFE-FR): SAFE-Family Recovery offers three types of services to help meet the substance use treatment and recovery needs of adult caregivers wherever they are in their recovery.
  • Women's REACH Program: The Women's REACH (Recovery, Engagement, Access, Coaching & Healing) program provides statewide integration of 15 Recovery Navigators positioned throughout each of the five DMHAS regions. The Recovery Navigators are women who are in a position to use their own personal recovery journey to help others. These women use recovery coaching techniques and case management services to support women and birthing people in their community. Services are prioritized for pregnant or parenting women and birthing people with substance use or co-occurring disorders.