Kentucky Counties Among the First to Achieve START Affiliate Status

The START – Sobriety Treatment and Recovery Teams – programs in Boyd, Jefferson, and Kenton counties have achieved certification as local START affiliates by the National Sobriety Treatment and Recovery Teams Training and Technical Assistance Program at Children and Family Futures. This prestigious designation, which marks a three-year certification period, acknowledges the programs’ dedication to collaborative and early intervention approaches for families at higher risk of child abuse and neglect due to parental substance misuse.

These Kentucky counties are among the first five nationwide to attain this status.

The START program, initiated in 2007, has had a substantial impact, having served more than 2,000 families and nearly 4,000 children since its inception. The START program has since expanded to Boyd, Daviess, Fayette, and Campbell Counties in Kentucky, as well as nine other states and a tribal affiliate in Montana. The achievement of being certified as official START providers is a testament to Kentucky’s role as a pioneer in the START model’s implementation and serves as a model for the Nation. With this certification, benefits such as public recognition, access to national training resources, and alignment with national outcomes are conferred.

In Fiscal Year 2023, START has seen significant growth and a positive trend at case closure, with 69% of children placed or remaining with parents, 18% placed with relatives, and 13% unresolved or resulting in termination of parental rights.

This year has also brought leadership transitions, with Kathy Kleier-Coates, the Assistant Clinical Director, playing a pivotal role in managing this change alongside new Director, John Lewis. Notably, all START sites now operate within the Family First Prevention Services framework, resulting in structural shifts within DCBS and strengthened partnership with the newly formed Division of Prevention and Community Wellbeing.

Certification as a Local Affiliate brings several advantages, including acknowledgment on the National START webpage, verification of implementation fidelity for stakeholders, and authorization to use START materials. Additionally, certified affiliates gain access to the National START eLearning and Training Portal and become part of a community of affiliates, aligning with the National START Model outcomes. This certification strengthens compliance with federal requirements for Title IV-E prevention funds. Engagement activities during the certification period include participation in cross-site events, submission of annual reports, and involvement in quality assurance meetings with the National START TTA Program.

Congratulations START on your amazing accomplishments, and all it means for your service to the families and children in our communities!