Hiring. Hiring of SALs occurred later than anticipated. Since at the state level, legislative authority limits the number of personnel in CFS and there were no new positions available, SALs for the PTP were hired and supervised by local substance abuse treatment providers in each region. There also was the expectation that this arrangement provided stronger linkages and collaboration, which would carry to the future. Timely hiring of SALs then were delayed by the possibility of changing the statewide substance abuse contractor in spring 2003. In addition, it became very difficult to find a qualified person with substance abuse certification in Region III. For several months, the SAL hired for Region IV carried out activities for both regions until another SAL was hired in July 2003. Unfortunately, this person resigned in Au- gust 2004. The hiring of a second SAL occurred in October 2004, thus there was another gap in services. Region III also experienced time periods in which both the SALs were unable to work the part-time position as funded. The SAL in Region I resigned the position two months before the end of data collection, and although she was replaced, it was deemed unfeasible to train her replacement in the data collection system for such a short period. Consequently, the delays in hiring and gaps in the SAL position contributed to a lower number of participants in the PTP than anticipated.
Training. Two SALs were contracted 16 to 20 hours a week (paid by the RMQIC grant) through local substance abuse treatment providers to provide pre-treatment services as out- lined in the PTP grant and documentation. One SAL in Region III was able to work only one- half of the 16 to 20 hours a week (even though the grant supported the full 16-to 20 hours). Training for the SAL occurred on four different occasions; June 25-26, 2003; October 16-17, 2004; and Janunary 6, 2004. A fourth training occurred in January 2005 to train a new SAL and to provide refresher training for the other SALs. The Substance Abuse Consultant for the Idaho Child Welfare Research and Training Center (ICWRTC), and an experienced trainer provided MI training. The PTP evaluator for the program provided training for documentation needed for the project evaluation.
Making changes to the philosophy and role of SALs who were seasoned substance abuse counselors was challenging. Because the fundamental assumption of MI is that clients are the “experts” on their lives, and consequently the counselor’s role is to assist them in finding internal motivation for change at their own pace, the practices of MI are different from the tra- ditional, more “directive” or “confrontational” role of substance abuse counselors. In addition, CPS social workers might pressure SALs to “get the parent(s) into treatment” regardless of parents’ Stage of Change or motivation to change. Additional training for two days in October 2003 and in January 2004 was helpful in surfacing SAL concerns about the model and how it could be used effectively with the difficult situations they encountered. Another one-day train- ing occurred on January 28, 2005, to assist SALs in further development of MI techniques and to review procedures with the newly hired SAL. Evaluator observations of SALs with partici- pants to check fidelity to the model indicated that use of MI was adequate.
Idaho Pre-Treatment Program