Families in Focus Adolescent Substance Abuse Treatment Project

What is Families in Focus?

  • Families in Focus (Focus) is a 3 year grant (from October 2015 – September 2018), which is an extension of the previous project (from October 2012 – March 2016), that served adolescents ages 12-17.
  • Focus is intended to expand and enhance evidence based practices and recovery support services that are utilized in substance abuse treatment for adolescent and transitional aged youth (TAY) ages 12-25.
  • Focus is a $2.4 million cooperative agreement awarded to the Iowa Department of Public Health and funded by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.
  • Focus is a collaboration of local community-based treatment service providers selected as Focus Centers; representatives of community-based advisory groups; the Iowa Consortium for Substance Abuse Research and Evaluation; and the Iowa Department of Public Health.

Why Families in Focus for adolescent treatment?

  • According to Iowa’s data reporting system, 46.4% of Iowa’s adolescents (12 to 17) and TAY (18 to 25) have co-occurring mental health and substance use disorders.
  • To help meet Iowa’s Adolescent/TAY treatment service needs, Focus will:
    • Implement evidence-based practices for adolescents/TAY’s by use of Multi-Dimensional Family Therapy (MDFT), Motivational Enhancement Therapy/Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (MET/CBT), Motivational Interviewing (MI) approaches, and Feedback Informed Treatment (FIT)
    • Implement use of standardized testing for adolescents/youth by use of the Comprehensive Adolescent Severity Inventory (CASI),
    • Increase workforce capacity to serve adolescents/TAY’s with co-occurring substance use and mental health disorders,
    • Decrease disparities in treatment outcomes based on gender, race and ethnicity for Iowa’s youth,
    • Improve treatment access for rural youth and families,
    • Expand treatment services for youth in the juvenile justice system,
    • Improve referral processes through use of the Re/Think Recovery website (www.rethinkrecovery.org),
    • Increase access to recovery support options for youth, and
    • Improve State infrastructure through examination of the State’s policies and programs which serve youth.

What are the goals of the Families in Focus grant?

  • Goal 1:  To advance the state in further establishing a coordinated effort to serve adolescents and their families
    • The Adolescent Steering Committee and Financing Subcommittees will assist to monitor and oversee Focus, as well as examine and implement State policies and procedures, which impact the population of focus.
  • Goal 2: To expand and Enhance Treatment for an additional 360-720 adolescents and transitional aged youth.
    • Iowa will serve youth by expanding evidence-based adolescent, TAY and family treatment through use of Multidimensional Family Therapy, Comprehensive Adolescent Severity Inventory assessments Motivational Enhancement Treatment/Cognitive Behavior Therapy Motivational Interviewing and will pilot Feedback Informed Treatment
    • Iowa will increase Recovery Support Services for adolescents/TAY’s
  •  Goal 3: To Improve Outcomes for Adolescents, Transitional Aged Youth and Families
    • Iowa will utilize various data systems to track outcomes for Focus participants.
    • Participants will maintain program completion rates of 75%.  At least 80% of adolescents and transitional aged youth who complete treatment will report improved outcomes.

Focus Announcements and Updates

Upcoming Events:


Focus Documents