Giving babies a safe and healthy start is important to their health and development. Connecticut takes a family-focused approach to supporting parent(s), guardian(s) and their children as they welcome a new family member and take positive steps toward their recovery from a substance use disorder.

Two federal laws help Connecticut to achieve this goal – the Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (CAPTA) and the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act (CARA). These laws require Plans of Safe Care whenever a baby is born exposed to substances before birth. Expectant and new mothers and their families work with their support team (doctors, community providers, other family members) to identify actions they can take to support the mother’s and baby’s safety and health. Plans of Safe Care include strategies and services that support the health and safety of newborns as well as the ongoing treatment of caregivers with substance use disorders. These Plans are customized for the needs of each baby and family and can include a wide range of information and strategies from infant learning and positive development to parenting and caregiver support groups for ongoing recovery.

How does it work?

  • Hospitals are required by law to notify the Department of Children and Families (DCF) when a child is born exposed to substances. This is called a CAPTA Notification. In Connecticut, CAPTA Notifications are blind, meaning they do not name the parent or child specifically.
  • If the hospital has concerns about the safety of the child, they are required by law also to file a report with the DCF Careline. Unlike CAPTA Notifications, DCF Careline reports do identify the parent and child. DCF reviews Careline reports to determine whether or not child abuse or neglect has occurred.

Plan of Safe Care

A Plan of Safe Care (POSC) provides action steps for the infant’s caregivers to ensure the child’s safety, well-being and development. It is also a resource that can help pregnant women and parents access needed services and supports for themselves and their babies. Plans of Safe Care should be reviewed over time as the family’s and infant’s needs change.

In addition to identifying areas of need for the infant, the POSC organizes referrals to services for parents such as recovery supports, medical/behavioral healthcare, material/financial support, and other resources required to meet those needs.

Your support team is there to help you and your child live safe, healthy and productive lives. We have developed a series of articles to break down different pieces of Plans of Safe Care and introduce you to helpful programs and supports available throughout the state.

Creating a Plan of Safe Care is a great way for any expectant parent(s) to prepare for baby’s arrival. Whether you are welcoming your first child or adding another child to the family, knowing that plans for sleep safety, car safety, child care, nutrition and more are already in place offers peace of mind. Our Plan of Safe Care Screener will recommend resources that could help you or your client.