Children and Family Futures (CFF) is extremely pleased to announce that on December 17, 2020, the Sobriety Treatment and Recovery Teams (START) program received a “Promising” rating from the Title IV-E Prevention Services Clearinghouse. The Clearinghouse sets the national standards for evidence on program effectiveness under the Family First Prevention Services Act (FFPSA). Receiving this rating will allow states and communities to fund START programs to prevent placing a child in foster care and, if placement is necessary, returning children home safely and sooner—the START program prevents the trauma of separation for children and saves money for States and the federal government by preventing and shortening foster care placements.

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The Clearinghouse sets the rating standards based on a six-part systematic review of the scientific evidence. The Promising rating means that START meets the criteria of at least one study that achieved moderate or high ratings on the research design and execution, and that it demonstrates favorable effects on child abuse or neglect outcomes. START is rated as an Evidence-Based Program (EBP) under two service areas, Substance Abuse and In-home Parent Skills-based Programs and Services.

Dr. Nancy Young, Executive Director of CFF, applauds the tireless efforts of the former and current START affiliates and research evaluation teams who paved the road and built the evidence for this achievement. START has a long history of effectiveness. Originating in 1989 in Toledo, Ohio as the Alcohol and Drug Addiction Protection Team (ADAPT), the program migrated to Cleveland, Ohio and evolved in its development as START in the late 1990s. The expansion and rigorous evaluation efforts of Kentucky START began in 2007, with Congressional support and the leadership of the Children’s Bureau through the Regional Partnership Grant Program.

Integral to this accomplishment is the dedication and leadership of Tina Willauer, Program Director of the National START Training and Technical Assistance (TTA) Program and Purveyor of the START EBP. Ms. Willauer embodies the spirit of START which provides families with experience, strength, and hope as they achieve sobriety, recovery, and family stability. Ms. Willauer thanks all the past and present START family mentors and advocates, child welfare case workers, supervisors, program managers and community partners who strive every day to make a difference in the lives of our nation’s children and their families.

The National START TTA Program will continue to expand the evidence base working with current and prospective affiliates toward improved outcomes for children and their families who are affected by parental substance use disorders and child maltreatment.

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Find out More: Inquiries about the START model, the TTA Program, including START in your state’s FFPSA Prevention Plan, and becoming a START affiliate are welcomed at