SAFE (Strategic Assertive Family Engagement)
TEAM (Treatment Evaluation Assessment Model)

For information or referrals:
David St. John, Program Supervisor
Crisis and Family Services Unit, NRVCS
700 University City Blvd.
Blacksburg, VA 24060
Phone: 540.357-0958
Fax: 540.961.8462

“…I’ve learned from the SAFE TEAM…how to control my urge to do drugs, by keeping my mind occupied…to try and relax and breathe when I feel overwhelmed…I was really impressed with the dedication they showed toward me and my family. They made me feel that I wasn’t a screw up…and I don’t know what I would have done without the services of the SAFE TEAM.”

– Consumer of SAFE TEAM services

The SAFE TEAM provides treatment to parents in the New River Valley with mental health and/or substance abuse disorders whose families at risk.  Comprehensive clinical and case management services are designed to facilitate treatment engagement and to reduce the risk of children entering foster care, as well as assist parents in taking the necessary steps to re-establish custody.

Program Overview
The purpose of developing the SAFE TEAM concept has stemmed from a thorough assessment of need throughout the New River Valley. Our area currently lacks an intermediate step in the treatment of substance abuse issues, and parents with serious mental health issues have difficulty engaging in traditional services. Current services available are at separate ends on the spectrum: residential/inpatient or outpatient. Parents, with several layers of need and involvement with multiple systems, have been historically very difficult to engage in treatment and therefore they continue to cycle through services.

The premise behind the development of this program is that parent engagement reduces the risk of children entering foster care or will assist parents in taking the necessary steps to re-establish custody.

Engagement is the essential element to the effectiveness of this model.

A comprehensive approach
The SAFE TEAM is not purely a substance abuse treatment model but a philosophical approach to treating parents that have been difficult to engage in treatment for various reasons. The program strives to overcome unique challenges in engaging these parents by using the essential underpinnings of the Community Reinforcement Approach.

Research has demonstrated the importance of comprehensive treatment for parents with mental health and/or substance abuse disorders.  Common co-occurring disorders include Depression, Anxiety, and Post-traumatic Stress Disorders. Children in families with substance abuse and/or severe mental health disorders are at higher risk of neglect, trauma, poverty, overall family instability, and development of their own mental health disorders.

The SAFE program is designed to respond to the whole needs of the person and family.  Treatment planning is both family-centered and goal-0riented. Each family is supported by both a licensed (or licensed eligible) clinician and a case manager.

Services Overview
Intensive Family Coordination:

  • Case consultation
  • Link to resources, services, etc.
  • Locating appropriate community supports
  • Crisis Stabilization
  • Treatment planning and regular treatment team meetings

Clinical Community Treatment Specialist:

  • Intensive, evidence-based mental health and substance abuse individual treatment-2 sessions weekly minimum
  • Family treatment
  • Assessment and evaluation along with recommendations to referral sources as needed
  • Recovery Oriented Treatment
  • Group Facilitation when appropriate

Parent Coaching:

  • Parental Education (Attachment, Developmental, Discipline, etc.)
  • Modeling of specific techniques
  • Attendance at Parental Visitations if applicable
  • Monthly reports on progress

Additional services if needed include:

  • Psychiatric Services
  • Mental Health Supports
  • Any additional service needed to support the family

Family Maintenance Partner:

  • Continuation of therapeutic interventions
  • Resource assistance
  • Daily planning and management
  • Maintaining Family engagement