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KU researchers get grants to study how to reunite families divided by substance abuse

  • Published Tuesday, Nov. 20, 2012, at 8:11 a.m.

Researchers at the University of Kansas have partnered with the states of Oklahoma and Iowa on a series of grants totaling $5.75 million to evaluate a system designed to help case workers reunite children and families affected by substance abuse and to bring new therapies to the struggle.

The five-year grant will help continue work to implement a screening for families at risk of substance abuse in the state, the university said in a news release. The grant is a continuation of work begun by Jody Brook, assistant professor of social welfare, and Tom McDonald, professor and associate dean. The researchers helped implement the UNCOPE, a universal screening tool for substance abuse. The work is designed not only improve the well-being of kids in child welfare, but to increase success rates of young people being returned to their families.

“The purpose of a universal screen is to identify those at risk of substance use disorders,” Brook said. “In this instance, substance abuse is a major problem in the child welfare system, and workers need ways to help them identify who should receive full assessments — the UNCOPE does this. Without tools to use, child welfare workers don’t have the information they need to help them make appropriate referrals and treatment linkages.”

Roy Wenzl

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