SuPPoRT Colorado, a coalition with the goal of reducing the number of families impacted by substance use during pregnancy and providing multigenerational support for families to thrive, had big successes in 2022. 

We had the chance to speak with Kelli Sutton, a Strategic Initiatives Manager at Illuminate Colorado who provides backbone support for the coalition, about what SuPPoRT Colorado accomplished in 2022, and the goals it is working toward in 2023. 

Looking Back on Four Big Successes in 2022

1. The SuPPoRT Colorado Family Advisory Board launched a quarterly newsletter in 2022 with the priority of centering the stories of families with lived experience.

Caregivers with lived experience are the experts in the space, and sharing their stories is essential in reducing stigma around pregnancy and substance use treatment.

Sign up to receive the newsletter!

Click here to hear from lived experience experts every quarter.

2. The FASD Awareness Work Group completed a training slide presentation about Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASDs).

FASD is a term used to describe a range of effects that can occur in a person exposed to alcohol before birth. Having presented the training in five different settings with multidisciplinary audiences, the FASD Work Group is able to modify the training for the appropriate audience. The training slide presentation is also posted on Illuminate Colorado’s website for easy access and utilization!

Receive the FASD training, presented by the FASD Awareness Work Group!

The training can be modified for any audience. For more information or to schedule a training, reach out to Kelli Sutton at ksutton@illuminatecolorado.org

3. The SuPPoRT Colorado Policy Analysis Work Group created a best practice guide for toxicology testing at birth.

The purpose of the guide is to minimize bias, discrimination, and variability in the use of toxicology testing for pregnant persons and their infants. The guide describes the limitations of, and appropriate clinical indications for, toxicology testing of birthing people and infants affected by substance use.

We know that systemic social, economic, and environmental inequities impact experiences and outcomes related to substance use and pregnancy. Therefore, to ensure that pregnancy and postpartum care is trauma-informed, culturally-responsive, and serves families with dignity and respect, SuPPoRT Colorado has made it a priority to identify ways to reshape the systems, services, and policies it is built upon. Clear practices on the appropriate uses for toxicology testing at birth is a critical step towards effective care for all pregnant and birthing people. 

4. The SuPPoRT Colorado Plan of Safe Care Work Group created a best practice guide for plan of safe care implementation for healthcare and child welfare professionals.

A plan of safe care is designed to ensure the safety and wellbeing of an infant with prenatal substance exposure following their release from the care of a healthcare provider, by addressing the health and substance use treatment needs of both the infant and caregiver. The guide offers guidance, support, and recommendations for ensuring appropriate care of the infants and families impacted by substance use following hospital discharge after birth. Created by healthcare and child welfare professionals with the support of a Family Advisory Board of Lived Experience Experts, the guide is focused on supporting implementation across all care teams that serve families.

 

Currently, both best practice guides are in the final draft stage and are being prepared for implementation in 2023. The Work Groups are placing a high priority on utilizing implementation science to ensure the most effective rollout possible. Stay tuned for updates!

Looking Forward: Updates to the Strategic Plan

Even with all of these accomplishments in 2022, SuPPoRT Colorado recognizes that the work to reduce substance use during pregnancy is not done. Thus, their priority areas remain intact, accompanied by the identification of exciting new opportunities for activities and cross-collaboration.

Priority Area #1: Reduce stigma around accessing substance use disorder treatment and recovery supports for pregnancy and parenting people.

How?

➡️ By maintaining and promoting the Perinatal Substance Use Provider Toolkit, Trauma Informed Care webinar series, identifying emerging provider education needs, and designing new provider education resources. 

➡️ By building capacity around storytelling by expanding and strengthening the Family Advisory Board.

➡️ Through a targeted Plan of Safe Care awareness campaign.

Priority Area #2: Ensure systems, and the people who work within them, develop policies and practices with families that support warm handoffs and standardize practices to address inequities.

How? 

➡️ By broadening CHoSEN QIC (multidisciplinary hospital-based improvement teams working collaboratively to achieve measurable improvements) to include practice change opportunities related to all substances.

➡️ By continuing Plan of Safe Care Work Group meetings, in order to support dissemination and implementation of the guide, support regional hospital and child welfare coordination, identify provider education needs, and ensure lived experience and family voice are prioritized in implementation. 

➡️ By collecting data on Early Intervention referrals, which connect families to the resources they need.

Priority Area #3: Build Colorado’s statewide capacity to align efforts, apply lessons from SuPPoRT Colorado’s data, and recognize and respond to emerging needs.

How? 

➡️ By translating SuPPoRT Colorado’s policy priorities into state-level policies through analysis, identifying indicators for successful implementation and reach of programs and policies, monitoring statewide policy and implementation related to substance use and pregnancy, and identifying opportunities for advocacy. 

➡️ By advising on the data and research components of projects related to substance use and pregnancy, creating opportunities for cross-sector collaborative learning and action, supporting the dissemination of project-related recommendations, and building awareness of existing data sources to better leverage data in driving priorities and solutions.

Priority Area #4: Build Colorado’s statewide capacity to identify Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders.

How?

➡️ By increasing FASD education and training opportunities, creating a FASD Informed Behavioral Health Care Provider List, and cross collaboration between the FASD Work Group and Provider Education Work Group to identify prevention strategies.

Get Involved Today!

Interested in joining a Work Group?

Click here to see the full list of Work Groups and sign up to receive more information!

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