NCADD-NJ’s Work First New Jersey (WFNJ) Substance Abuse Initiative (SAI) is a statewide welfare to work program which is funded by the New Jersey Dept. of Human Services’ Division of Family Development (DFD). NCADD-NJ has operated the SAI since July of 1998. The target population has been Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) and General Assistance (GA) clients who have substance abuse barriers to employment.
As of June 30, 2012, the SAI has received more than 63,000 referrals, conducted over 55,000 clinical assessments, and placed nearly 43,000 clients into treatment.
The Substance Abuse Initiative (SAI) provides assessment services in all 21 New Jersey counties. Assessments are performed by 52 licensed clinical Care Coordinators. Beginning April 1, 2009, NCADD-NJ was asked by the NJ Division of Family Development (DFD) to assume the operation of the Work First NJ - Mental Health Initiative (MHI) for the state. As a result, NCADD-NJ developed the WFNJ Behavioral Health Initiative (BHI) in the seven counties where the former WFNJ MHI was operational. Presently, NCADD-NJ has Mental Health Care Coordinators who have been providing mental disorder and co-occurring assessments and referrals for treatment in Atlantic, Camden, Mercer, Union, Essex, Hudson and Passaic counties as part of the WFNJ BHI. DFD recently granted NCADD-NJ the opportunity to expand the BHI into the 14 remaining counties, allowing for the statewide coverage of SAI/BHI services; adding an additional 9 licensed Care Coordinators to the current clinical staff.The SAI clinicians conduct comprehensive assessments of the clients referred by welfare using the Addiction Severity Index (ASI), the DSM- IV-TR and the American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM) criteria to determine the severity of the client’s problem and the appropriate level of care to place the client in. The SAI clinicians refer clients to treatment at NJ Division of Addiction Services licensed and approved treatment providers for the SAI Treatment Provider Network. The SAI clinicians pre-approve clinical service units, provide utilization review by conducting regular clinical service reviews with the treatment provider clinical staff, and authorize payment for services provided based on client treatment attendance and urine drug screening information forwarded to NCADD-NJ by the treatment providers. The SAI clinicians also decide when a client needs continued care, needs to step down to less intensive care, needs to be stepped up to a more intense level of care or is ready for discharge from treatment. When clients have completed their treatment goals and are discharged from treatment, the SAI clinicians refer the client back to welfare to be placed in a work activity.
SAI clinicians also provide case management services for clients in the form of arranging with welfare client transportation to treatment, childcare while the client attends treatment and emergency assistance in the form of housing.
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