Emerging Practice

NESST(R) Newborns Exposed to Substances: Support and Therapy

State/Jurisdiction: Massachusetts
Setting: Clinical Community Home
Population: Medical & Public Health Professionals Women & Maternal
Topic Area: Access to Quality Healthcare Mental Health & Substance Use Reproductive Health Care Coordination

Project NESST targets the many impacts of parental substance use disorder (SUD) on the mother, the parent-infant relationship, and infants and young children. Project NESST addresses these needs by providing weekly, long-term, multiprovider support to families with a great deal of attention to flexibility in service delivery. Clinicians target maternal mental health and parenting practices using strategies from the evidence-based practices of Child Parent Psychotherapy (CPP; Lieberman and VanHorn, 2008) and enhance parents’ reflective capacities using techniques identified in the Mothering from the Inside Out approach (Suchman et al., 2013). Clinicians support parental emotion regulation, attunement, reflection, and parent-child interactions in order to ameliorate the risks dyads face. They provide developmental guidance in order to both promote practices that support healthy development and reduce the use of harmful or unsafe parenting practices. Maternal Recovery Specialists (MRS) provide parenting support in the form of shared observation, exploration, and problem solving; case management to reduce the impact of stressors on a family’s well-being; explicit tools and strategies for harm reduction and long-term sobriety; and recovery coaching and service linkage to other recovery supports in order to address SUD. To mitigate the impact of stress on development, our MRS staff deliver the well-tested model of peer support for vulnerable families. They engage in collaborative goal-setting with parents to addresses recovery stability, housing, food security, employment, benefits, and interpersonal safety, and to reduce barriers to service access. They successfully link parents to concrete resources within their communities.

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Implementation Handout

Jewish Family & Children's Service
Amy Sommer
Practice Website