Moving Upstream

Moving Upstream: Building a Trauma-Informed Community Response for Our Youngest Victims of the Opioid Crisis in Cheshire County

Population to be served and need

The proposed 2-year Moving Upstream project targets children 0 to 8 years victimized by the opioid crisis in Cheshire County, New Hampshire. Cheshire County is in the midst of a devastating opioid crisis with some of the highest overdose death rates and infants born addicted in the country. Numerous service sectors have observed an unprecedented increase in young child victims (neglect and abuse) and their subsequent needs for victims’ assistance, advocacy, social, and mental health services.

Providers are overwhelmed by the influx of needs in this young population, yet early intervention is key to preventing the long-term effects of adversity during this rapid period of brain development and growth.

Design and implementation

The Moving Upstream project will provide early childhood mental health, trauma, and parental opioid and substance use disorders training and ongoing expert consultation to community and service professionals (e.g., early educators, foster/adoptive parents, victim and child advocates, domestic violence and homeless shelters) serving young children using standardized, evidence-based curricula. We will also facilitate information and referrals to partnering mental health, victim advocacy, and other services.

Finally, the project will build capacity for group-based parenting in recovery and grandparent services for caregivers of young children victimized by the opioid epidemic. We will also build and implement a community-driven, trauma-informed care initiative across several community agencies using a Plan-Do-Study-Act (PDSA) framework. Through partnerships with existing community leaders and initiatives, we will enhance and expand the community’s multidisciplinary, trauma-informed response to young victims of the opioid crisis.

Goals and measurable objectives

Our overall goal is to enhance the community response to child victims ages 0 to 8 years in Cheshire County victimized by the opioid crisis. Our primary objectives are to:

  • Provide four 6-hour, in-person trainings in early childhood trauma, mental health, and parental opioid and substance use disorders to 100 professionals
  • Provide 80 follow-up, ongoing group consultations to trainees through local early childhood mental health experts
  • Provide six combined parent in recovery/grandparent 12-week groups to a total of 96 caregivers
  • Convene a coalition of community leaders dedicated to using the PDSA cycle to continuously assess the needs, gaps, and available resources to the target population and provide trauma-informed strategies within community organizations