Plans of Safe Care

Most new parents leave the hospital and enter the sometimes-scary world of being responsible for the safety and well-being of an infant. For a parent who struggles with substance use, addiction and its underlying stressors can make an already challenging time more difficult.

Children deserve to grow up with a family and research shows this is best for newborns and new parents. When safety concerns have been identified, caseworkers strive to help a parent address those concerns while keeping the family together. In 2019, in recognition of the unique opportunity to serve substance-exposed newborns and parents together and in response to changes in federal law, Colorado launched a Plans of Safe Care pilot to send parents and babies home from the hospital with a plan for safety. 

A Plan of Safe Care is meant to be a community safety net for families affected by substance use. Ideally, the plan is established during pregnancy, prior to child welfare involvement and the plan is developed by a multidisciplinary team. Plans of Safe Care include the following elements:

  • Physical health (postpartum care, support with breastfeeding, medication and pain management)

  • Behavioral health (engagement, treatment, recovery supports and retention; treatment for partner/other family members)

  • Infant health and development (high-risk follow-up care, with referral to specialty care; developmental screening and early intervention services; early care and education programs)

  • Parenting/family support (coordinated case management; home visiting/Head Start; Housing, employment support, child care and transportation)

Plans of Safe Care is a collaboration across many different agencies, committees and organizations, including the Substance Exposed Newborn Steering Committee, Plans of Safe Care Work Group, the CHoSEN Collaborative,  Illuminate Colorado and the Colorado Department of Human Services.


Pilot Program in Larimer County


Impact on Child Welfare Practice

 

 


CHoSEN Collaborative

The CHoSEN Collaborative is an effort to increase consistency in the implementation of best practice in the identification of and response to newborns prenatally exposed to substances throughout the Rocky Mountain region. The cornerstone initiative of the CHoSEN Collaborative is focused on quality improvement. Known as “CHoSEN QIC”, this work is built around multidisciplinary hospital-based improvement teams working collaboratively to achieve measurable improvements.