The NCADD-NJ Work First New Jersey Substance Abuse Initiative (WFNJ SAI) celebrated its 15-year anniversary in 2013. Operational since August 1998, the WFNJ SAI has strived to remove substance abuse as a barrier to participation in employment-directed activities for welfare-to-work consumers. Since its inception, approximately 83,000 assessments have been completed with corresponding referrals to treatment for those individuals determined to require services. .
In fiscal year 2012, NCADD-NJ began the expansion and integration of the WFNJ Behavioral Health Initiative (BHI) into the 14 remaining New Jersey counties; this initiative became fully implemented in fiscal year 2013. The WNFJ SAI/BHI is now located in all 21 New Jersey counties, with 61 licensed or certified care coordinators located in the county boards of social services or One-Stop Career Centers. In fiscal year 2013, WFNJ SAI/BHI Care Coordinators conducted 9,170 assessments, 7,310 were assessed to need treatment, and of those assessed to need treatment 5,964 entered treatment (82%).
The WFNJ SAI/BHI provides comprehensive face-to-face assessments using an enhanced version of the Addiction Severity Index; this evaluation includes a Child Safety Evaluator and an Immediate Need Profile. Data collection using these tools assists with identifying the needs of the population and improves client care and best practice efforts across all health domains. In fiscal year 2013, in addition to substance use and/or mental health disorders, it was identified that 56% of clients self-disclosed at the time of assessment they had been diagnosed with chronic medical conditions. Many WFNJ SAI/BHI clients have a traumatic history of abuse; at the time of assessment 44% disclosed emotional abuse, 39% physical abuse, 27% sexual abuse, and 18% all three. The extensive data collection within our health information system permits the ability to generate over 80 reports. This data is available to the State any time information is requested regarding client care, client flow, demographics, and quality assurance to illustrate performance targets and outcomes data.
TThe WFNJ SAI/BHI care coordinators use the assessment information to generate a service plan in collaboration with the client based on their unique needs, essential to producing good outcomes. Clients are referred to substance abuse and/or mental health treatment, and intensity of service, directly related to what level of care is recommended utilizing The American Society of Addiction Medicine Criteria (ASAM).
TThe WFNJ SAI/BHI model offers a single-point of care coordination, using measures to ensure the most efficient course of action centered on client needs. This model also recognizes the strengths of the clients to achieve optimal outcomes, move clients seamlessly along the continuum of care, and emphasizes recovery, wellness, and self-sufficiency as the guiding values. Through the steadfast efforts of the WFNJ SAI/BHI, they have developed an accountable behavioral health system that has significantly assisted with attaining the State’s goals for quality care, accessibility of care, eliminating gaps in service, and cost effectiveness.