National Center on Substance Abuse and Child Welfare (NCSACW)

Funded By:  Administration for Children and Families (ACF), Children’s Bureau, and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA)

The National Center on Substance Abuse and Child Welfare (NCSACW) has operated since 2002. Joint funding comes from the Children’s Bureau (CB), Administration for Children and Families (ACF) and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).

NCSACW offers on-site and virtual technical assistance (TA), develops and disseminates TA tools, creates educational materials and training curricula, and maintains an extensive web presence. NCSACW also provides a range of TA activities for agencies representing health and social service providers—including substance use disorder (SUD) and mental health treatment, child welfare services, family courts, public health, health care, maternal and child health, and early childhood.

NCSACW strives to support systems change, improve practice, and reduce stigma related to families affected by SUDs and mental health challenges through enhanced agency collaboration based on: 1) a shared understanding of the needs and challenges of these families, and 2) the systems serving them.

Goals include

  • Facilitating healing and recovery among children, youth, parents, and families affected by SUDs and mental health challenges who are either involved—or at risk of involvement—with the child welfare and family judicial systems
  • Promoting the social and emotional well-being of children and youth who have experienced maltreatment, exposure to violence, or trauma associated with parental substance misuse and mental health challenges
  • Advancing racial equity and support for underserved communities while improving access for special populations, including Tribes

NCSACW provides consultation, training, and TA to help agencies and professionals develop or enhance policies, practices, and procedures that benefit families and improve outcomes. NCSACW also researches, compiles, and shares examples of successful programs with other jurisdictions to expand best practices nationwide. NCSACW offers brief consultation and TA to provide information, resources, publications, guidance, and effective strategies.

NCSACW has specialized TA programs that provide capacity building and implementation support to strengthen partnerships, sustain innovations, measure performance, and improve outcomes. In-Depth Technical Assistance (IDTA) uses a phased approach to assess system strengths and challenges, implement practice and system changes, and improve information sharing to monitor family and system outcomes. This intensive TA provides relationship-based coaching and support for varying lengths of engagement with collaborative teams who apply for assistance.

NCSACW also provides programmatic TA to the Regional Partnership Grants (RPG), a program administered by the Children’s Bureau. TA focuses on cross-systems collaborative capacity; program sustainability; trauma-informed and culturally responsive evidence-based and evidence-informed services to children, parents, and family members; family-centered substance use and mental health disorder treatment and recovery support services; and lasting systems change.

The Regional Partnership Grant (RPG) Program is administered by the Administration for Children, Youth, and Families, Children’s Bureau to improve the well-being of children affected by parental substance use disorders. The grants support interagency collaborations and integration of programs, services, and activities designed to increase the well-being, improve the permanency, and enhance the safety of children who are in, or at risk of, out-of-home placements as the result of a parent or caregiver’s substance use disorder. The partnerships implement a range of activities and interventions, including peer recovery coaching, family-centered substance use disorder treatment, parenting and family strengthening programs, services to pregnant and postpartum women, medication assisted treatment, in-home parenting and child safety support for families, and related evidence-based practices. Since 2007, Children’s Bureau has awarded six rounds of RPG funding to 109 grant projects across 38 states, tribal communities and counties.

NCSACW provides programmatic technical assistance to the RPG grantees on a variety of topics, including collaborative practice and policy, program sustainability, trauma-informed services, evidence-based and evidence-informed services to children, treatment and recovery support services, and family-centered substance use disorder intervention and treatment practices for women and families.

NCSACW’s In-Depth Technical Assistance (IDTA) program advances the capacity of states, tribes, and their community partner agencies to improve the safety, health, permanency, well-being, and recovery outcomes for families affected by substance use disorders. This 18- to 24-month program strengthens cross-system collaboration and linkages among the child welfare and substance use disorder treatment systems and the courts, as well as maternal and infant health care providers, public health providers, early care and education systems, home visiting providers, and other key partners.

For more information about the NCSACW, please contact us at or visit

Learning Opportunities


Through federally- and foundation-funded projects, Children and Family Futures and its small business subsidiary, Center for Children and Family Futures, produces publications, reports, Technical Assistance tools and web-based learning for the field. The following are featured resources from our work. For more resources or information related to a specific topic, please visit our resources page or click the “Request Assistance” button below or at the top of the page.