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Evaluating Implementation of the Families in Recovery Program

Statement of Problem

Recovery from substance use disorders can be especially challenging for parents of young children. Parental substance and opioid use disorders impact more than 8 million children in the United States and disproportionately affect adults of childbearing age, contributing to increasing rates of family instability and maternal mortality. Parents with substance use disorders face unique challenges, often interfacing with multiple systems, including drug and alcohol treatment, child welfare, and counseling, and balancing the recovery process with their parental duties.

In response to this need, Pennsylvania Family Support Alliance, a nonprofit child abuse prevention organization, developed an innovative program aimed at engaging and supporting parents of young children impacted by substance use disorder. This program, Families in Recovery, is comprised of seven strengths-based group sessions that explore the experiences of parents in recovery. Since 2018, Pennsylvania Family Support Alliance has piloted Families in Recovery at a variety of sites including maternal and child home visiting programs, drug and alcohol treatment centers and family support hubs, among others. Though the program has received overwhelmingly positive reviews from facilitators and participants since its inception, we don’t yet have an evidence base for how best to implement it in diverse contexts and settings. 


Next Steps

We will begin this evaluation with the first of three surveys to gauge site context, concepts of fidelity to the program model and experiences with implementation. Administrators and facilitators at each site currently implementing Families in Recovery will complete these surveys. We will also engage a small number of experienced Families in Recovery facilitators in a focus group to understand key facilitators and barriers to implementing the program. 

This project page was last updated in March 2024. 

Suggested Citation

Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, PolicyLab. Evaluating Implementation of the Families in Recovery Program [online]. Available at: [Accessed: plug in date accessed here]. 

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