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  3. DOL and HHS Work Together To Address Youth Substance Use

DOL and HHS Work Together to Address Youth Substance Use

Lessons Learned

Learn more about what the Department of Health and Human Services’ Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) and the Department of Labor’s Employment and Training Administration (ETA) learned through working together to establish and carry out the pilot project.

Data and experiences can help to illustrate the value of the SBIRT model within the YouthBuild context

The pilot program allowed programs to see that the model effectively assessed substance abuse and use so the programs could offer a range of supports to accommodate participant’s needs. As a result of the pilot study, other programs have expressed an interest in the SBIRT model and in addressing substance abuse and use in their programs. Learn more about the increased awareness as a result of the pilot study.

Ongoing training and capacity building is important to deal with staff turnover

One of the issues that some of the pilot sites faced was staff turnover. Ongoing training and technical assistance was essential to address this turnover and loss of knowledge. Both individual program staff and the technical assistance (TA) provider participated in the evidence-based curriculum model training that was conducted by SAMHSA at the initiation of the project. The TA provider was able to share the information they learned through the initial training to provide refresher trainings for program staff and introductory training for new staff. Program staff also brought the knowledge they learned back to the other staff members at their program, as implementation of the SBIRT model in their programs was a group effort. In addition, an inventory of resources and techniques within the programs was developed to ensure the sustainability of program knowledge despite turnover.

The transience of the youth population can make this work difficult

Youth, particularly those in YouthBuild programs, are a transient population that have many demands competing for their time, such as new job opportunities or parenthood. In addition, youth may begin a program and drop out before completion. This can make the follow-up interventions and treatment difficult. Programs found that leveraging and aligning retention strategies helped to engage youth. This included involving family members, using social media tools, and using creative strategies such as conducting screening assessments during group meetings.