HHS Introduces New Video Sequence on Federal Incapacity Rights Protections That Apply to Some People in Restoration from an Opioid Use Dysfunction

As part of a shared commitment to protect against discrimination, the Citizens’ Rights Office (OCR), Drug Abuse and Mental Health Administration (SAMHSA) and The Administration apply to all people, including those undergoing treatment or treatment for substance use disorders for Children and Families (ACF) from the United States Department of Health (HHS) has partnered with the National Center for Substance Abuse and Child Welfare (NCSACW) to create a new video series entitled “Protecting Civil Rights for Individuals Recovering from Opioid Use Disorder. “The five-part series educates audiences on the application of federal disability rights laws to programs and activities to protect children, discusses protective measures that may apply to some individuals recovering from opioid use disorder, provides an overview of drug-assisted treatment (MAT) and addresses common misconceptions about MAT as a treatment approach.

The video series includes:

These resources provide the necessary training for staff in the child care system on federal disability rights laws. Intended target groups include, but are not limited to: social workers, social workers, service providers, parental lawyers, agency lawyers, children’s lawyers, lawyers, court-appointed special lawyers (CASAs), judges and judicial officers, court improvement program staff, family treatment court staff, Treatment providers for substance use disorders and other child welfare stakeholders. The videos also inform those in recovery about safeguards they may have under federal disability rights laws. Watch the full video series.

“The Citizens’ Rights Office has received complaints from people in recovery who have been discriminated against in the child welfare system simply because of their participation in active treatment such as drug treatment,” said acting director Robinsue Frohboese. “These new resources are designed to prevent child welfare staff from being discriminated against in terms of their obligations under federal civil rights laws and how they can be implemented in practical ways.” She added, “By partnering with our HHS partners to create this training, we are promoting the dual goals of preventing discrimination and providing families with the support they need.”

“Social workers need critical and relevant knowledge to help families manage opioids. The new materials released by HHS provide valuable information that meets these requirements, ”said JooYeun Chang, ACF deputy assistant secretary. Chang stressed the importance of preparing child welfare professionals to protect the civil rights of those recovering from opioids. “HHS’s new resources will help train workers who are committed to the dual goals of promoting stable families while respecting the rights of those recovering from addiction.”

“We are committed to ensuring protection from discrimination applies to all Americans – including people undergoing treatment or disorder of substance use disorders,” said Acting Assistant Secretary for Mental Health and Substance Use, Tom Coderre, who heads SAMHSA. “Nobody should have to worry about losing custody of their child because they are being treated based on evidence.”

The NCSACW is an initiative of HHS and is jointly funded by the SAMHSA Center for the Treatment of Drug Abuse (CSAT) and the Administration for Children, Adolescents and Families (ACYF), the Office of the Children’s Office for Child Abuse and Neglect (OCAN). Visit the NCSACW website (https://ncsacw.samhsa.gov/) for information on improving family recovery, safety, and stability by promoting practices and collaboration among authorities, organizations, and courts that support Working with families affected by substance use and concurrent mental health disorders and child abuse or neglect.

To learn more about OCR’s commitment to improving access to child protection programs and activities, please visit the OCR Civil Rights website.

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