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National Center on Substance Abuse and Child Welfare: The Use of Peers and Recovery Specialists in Child Welfare Settings


This brief provides an overview of two models of support for families—support by peers with lived experience of substance use disorders and sometimes child welfare involvement, and support by professionally-trained recovery specialists. The brief also highlights implementation considerations gleaned from interviews with four programs that have demonstrated positive child welfare and recovery outcomes for families.

This Technical Assistance Tool was developed by the National Center on Substance Abuse and Child Welfare (NCSACW). NCSACW is a technical assistance resource center jointly funded by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) and the Children’s Bureau (CB), Administration on Children, Youth and Families (ACYF), U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.


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Funding for this initiative was made possible by grant no. 1H79TI083022 from SAMHSA. The views expressed in written conference materials or publications and by speakers and moderators do not necessarily reflect the official policies of the Department of Health and Human Services; nor does mention of trade names, commercial practices, or organizations imply endorsement by the U.S. Government.