Under the provisions of a 1995 state law, DHS' Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse provides funding for alcohol and other drug abuse (AODA) treatment services for individuals with active cases served by the Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS).

Persons receiving these services are screened and referred by DCFS. Alcohol and other drug abuse service providers work collaboratively with DCFS staff through a standardized referral and follow-up protocol.

AODA services include outreach efforts to bring clients into the treatment process and, when needed, transportation for clients and/or their children to child care or to attend treatment. Child care in the OASA/DCFS Initiative program is funded by DCFS.

There are 33 AODA treatment providers in the Initiative delivering services to DCFS involved families at 56 treatment sites. The overall goals of the OASA/DCFS Initiative include:
  • improved health and safety of the child(ren) and mother,
  • improved parenting skills,
  • improved family functioning,
  • reduced substance abuse, and
  • improved life management skills of the mother.

Additional funds are provided to 23 of the 56 treatment sites to provide enhanced AOD treatment services to women involved within DCFS cases. This service model, titled Project SAFE (Substance and Alcohol Free Environment) provides treatment activities such as substance abuse education, individual and family counseling, specialized women's groups, skill building and self-help groups. This intensified level of service, which includes outpatient treatment, parenting training and involvement with outreach worker services (including transportation to the treatment sites), makes this program unique to traditional AODA services and creates a greater opportunity for treatment success. In FY 2000, there were 11,426 DCFS clients in the OASA treatment system. AODA providers in the Initiative were funded through a combination of state General Revenue and Medicaid funds appropriated specifically for Initiative services. In FY 2000 more than 22 million dollars was spent on this target population.