Safe Children Coalition staff members (from l-r) Sherri Weiland, CAPTA Unit Supervisor; Stacey Schaeffer, Sr Director of Prevention & Diversion Services; Michelle Gaines, CAPTA Program Manager; and Marlena Calzavara-Right, CAPTA Unit Supervisor

Safe Children Coalition staff members Sherri Weiland, CAPTA unit supervisor; Stacey Schaeffer, senior director of prevention and diversion services; Michelle Gaines, CAPTA program manager; and Marlena Calzavara-Right, CAPTA unit supervisor

Safe Children Coalition (SCC) recently launched the CAPTA Home Visiting Program, a new endeavor that aims to promote infant health and safety. The program is federally funded through the Child Abuse Prevention Treatment Act (CAPTA), and is focused on substance exposed/affected newborns and their families.

SCC's CAPTA Home Visiting Program is a voluntary, evidence-based program with family-focused services for those who are at risk for entering or have a history of being involved in the child welfare system of care. The program goals are to decrease substance exposed births, substance exposed removals, and increase child and family well-being. At the core of the program is the Plan of Safe Care, whose purpose is to identify pregnant women and new mothers with substance misuse (controlled substances and alcohol), connect them with resources, and provide ongoing supportive services. A plan of safe care must address not only the immediate safety needs of any affected infants but also the health and substance use disorder treatment needs of the affected family member(s) or caregiver(s).

From July 2021—when the contract for CAPTA services under Florida’s Department of Children and Families started—through March of 2022, the program provided 351 families monthly home visiting services.Since July of 2021, the 12th Judicial Circuit has received 165 reports to its hotline due to substance-exposed newborns; of those, 117 were screened-in for investigation. 

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