Expansion of START

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. Beginning in 2007, under the leadership of model purveyor, Tina Willauer, START expanded and underwent rigorous evaluation efforts in Kentucky made possible by federal support through the Regional Partnership Grant program. The model has since been replicated and scaled to meet the diverse needs and policies of both rural and urban jurisdictions within public and privatized child welfare systems (click here to view the map of current operational sites; START has also been piloted in Georgia, Indiana, West Virginia, and New York City).

Spirit of START

At the heart of the START model is the philosophy or ‘spirit’ of engaging families affected by parental substance use and child maltreatment. START approaches substance use disorders with compassion, understanding, and hope for recovery. This philosophy is weaved through all components of the model—from supporting and holding each other accountable as a collaborative team, to empowering each member of the family unit. START offers a transformative experience for all—instilling hope and inspiration as parents work toward their sobriety, recovery, and family stability goals. In START, we firmly believe in advancing equitable outcomes for all families through a model built on the values of family, love, and redemption.

Goals of START

  • Ensure child safety and well-being

  • Prevent and/or decrease out-of-home placements

  • Increase parental recovery

  • Increase parenting capacity and family stability

  • Reduce repeat maltreatment

  • Improve system capacity for addressing parental substance use and child maltreatment