U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government, Department of Justice.

Supporting Children and Families Impacted by Substance Use Disorder Findings from an Assessment of the Child Assessment and Response Evaluation Project in Warren County, Ohio

NCJ Number
Date Published

Recommendations for supporting children and families impacted by substance-use disorder are based on an assessment of a project that involved a collaboration among law enforcement, fire and emergency medical services, emergency dispatch, and children services intended to enable the rapid identification of children at drug overdose scenes, their assessment for exposure to trauma, and their referral to appropriate services.


The program is the Child Assessment and Response Evaluation (CARE) project, a 24/7 rapid-response intervention for children at the scene of a drug overdose in Warren County, Ohio. The evaluation found that 1) CARE strengthened service partnerships in serving children in families with drug-abuse issues; 2) improved stakeholders’ perceptions, awareness, and use of county children services; 3) county agencies were generally aware of and used CARE protocols; and 4) most first responders did not experience barriers in calling children services while at a drug overdose scene. The COVID-19 pandemic had minimal impact on implementation of the CARE protocols, and Warren County Children Services anecdotally reported that referrals increased after CARE was implemented. Impediments to a more effective implementation of the program are noted in this evaluation report, and recommendations for improving CARE’s effectiveness are offered. They include 1) acknowledging and defining the challenges linked with substance-use disorder in the county; 2) continuing roll-call trainings and incorporate a training video in training curricula; 3) including questions about children at the scene into emergency dispatch procedures; 4) using CARE as a catalyst for expanding services for families struggling with substance use disorders; and 5) soliciting input from families having substance addiction issues and from first responders when developing responses to substance-use disorders.

Date Published: January 1, 2021