Connecticut Substance Abuse/Child Welfare Project: State Will Pay for Success, But Hasn’t Defined It

Source: John Kelly, Chronicle for Social Change, October 13, 2016

Connecticut has announced it is underway with a pay-for-success venture that will reward private funders if they are successful in using a substance abuse treatment model to curb re-referrals to, and out-of-home placements made by, child protective services. One wrinkle: It’s not clear yet what the definition of “successful” will be. It’s not looking good for the Family First Preservation Services Act, which would have opened up federal IV-E entitlement funds for several services aimed at preventing the need for foster care in certain maltreatment cases. … The agency announced a pay-for-success (PFS) project through which 500 families will receive family-based recovery (FBR), a model of substance abuse treatment developed at Yale University that provides in-home, attachment-based parent-child therapy and substance abuse treatment. Each family is assigned two clinicians and a family support specialist. … And here is where it gets somewhat murky. Pressed by Youth Services Insider for details on what level of achievement would actually trigger repayment by the state – either in full or in part – representatives from DCF and its intermediary partner, Social Finance, did not provide specifics to Youth Services Insider. So we know that re-referrals and out-of-home placements will be the significant standards by which success will be measured, and the method for gauging success on those counts will be a randomized control study. But stakeholders on the project have not disclosed is how much better than the control group this project needs to be in order to get paid back by Connecticut. It suggests that either the exact benchmarks for success haven’t been worked out, or for some reason the partners do not want to release those benchmarks yet. …


State launches Pay for Success substance abuse program for parents
Source: Karen Florin, The Day, September 28, 2016

Five hundred families with substance abuse problems will be receiving treatment in their homes over the next 4.5 years, and the state of Connecticut will be paying the $11.2 million price tag for the first-of-its-kind program only if it works. Gov. Dannel P. Malloy, Department of Children and Families Commissioner Joette Katz and Rafael López, the commissioner of the U.S. Administration of Children, Youth and Families, gathered at the Community Health Center on Main Street Wednesday with clinicians, families and lenders to launch the Family Based Recovery program. The state has partnered with the Harvard Kennedy School Government Performance Lab and with Social Finance, a London-based nonprofit company, to launch the program. … he program will serve 11 communities in Connecticut, including Norwich and Willimantic, and will be managed at community health centers operated by United Child & Family Services, Community Mental Health Affiliates and Community Health Resources. “Finding innovative ways to support promising programs that tackle chronic social issues is a continuous endeavor,” Malloy said. “Pay for Success is the right tool at the right time.” Substance abuse is involved in at least half of the cases DCF investigates — 18,118 out of 36,131 in 2013 — and the agency has been striving, under Katz’s administration, to keep children in their homes while helping their parents. … Some of the lenders were in the audience, including Hervé P. Duteil, regional coordinator for corporate social responsibility in North America for BNP Paribas, a Paris-based bank and financial services company. Duteil said that by the end of June 2016, BNP Paribas had 840 million Euros of commitments in support of microfinance and social businesses. He said it is fair that the supporters of the program would be repaid based on performance, and that the money could then be recycled and used for another project. Duteil said that the Family Based Recovery Program, which has been two years in the works, sounded even better than it had on paper after he listened to the experiences of the mothers who have received help. …