New Jersey Family Health Group Develops and Disseminates Protocol to Screen Pregnant Women for Drug and Alcohol Use

Family Health Initiatives, a subsidiary of the Southern New Jersey Perinatal Cooperative, implemented a uniform statewide screening process to identify pregnant women who use alcohol and other drugs and then disseminated the results through a conference.

The goal of the project, known as A Window of Opportunity for Children, was to improve access to care for pregnant women who use alcohol and other drugs in order to mitigate the effects of prenatal exposure to these substances on their children.

The project was part of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) New Jersey Health Initiatives national program.

Key Results

  • Using a protocol developed under the project, staff at perinatal clinics administered more than 34,000 screens to pregnant women for alcohol and/or other drug use during the duration of the project.

  • Once identified as being at risk, pregnant women were assessed for treatment needs and, when necessary, referred for treatment. Staff made more than 5,200 such referrals during the course of the project.

  • Family Health Initiatives held a statewide symposium to educate providers about the effectiveness of the 4P's Plus screening tool (see the Activities section) and share the results of A Window of Opportunity for Children. The dinner meeting and conference took place February 16–17, 2010.

Afterward: Participating providers in the state's six Maternal Child Health Consortia continue to use the 4P's screening protocol and tools developed during the project.