The networking and collaboration among organizations required as part of the CRRI was noted as a positive effect of participating in the Initiative. CRRI staff noted that coordination is profoundly important among otherwise fragmented services for families in need. Establishing additional resources through the newly hired staff and embedding these new resources in existing agencies helped to support a new sense of potential and encouragement to address sensitive behavioral health issues. By offering bilingual screening and also expanding treatment resources to include bilingual adult mental health and substance use disorder treatment the project also increased the availability of behavioral health and substance use disorder treatment for all city residents.
The focus of the project on employment services began with staff training in an evidence-based job search and support program called JOBS provided through the University of Michigan. This training was designed to teach tools to enhance job search skills, job search motivation and confidence of both unemployed and underemployed residents. Locally, this JOBS program, named HIRED, was delivered in both English and Spanish. Working closely with the One-Stop Career Services was also a key element at North Hudson. Project staff reported that job services and resources were much more needed and beneficial than Strengthening Families.
The program also focused on families. Because of economic challenges, some of the parents had less time to supervise adolescents. With less supervision youth can become involved in high-risk behaviors such as drug and alcohol use. Staff noted that many parents had not finished high school and were determined to avert this problem and wanted resources to help provide prevention and treatment to the children while maintaining them in an educational program.
The project established an adolescent substance use program through the school district and this had a very high impact. Hiring experienced substance use staff allowed new or stronger connections to be built between the schools and the courts, welfare, child behavioral health, and NHCAC. The high school program focused both screening and counseling on site. Establishing this program in the schools facilitated several changes and ultimately expansion in services. Other services for families included offering the Strengthening Families initiative. The original length of this training for families was found to be too long of a commitment for the parents in Union City and so during the project the staff tried modifying the duration of the curriculum. Even with this modification it proved not to be a frequently desired voluntary program. Families experiencing a job loss crisis were most interested in ameliorating that first before considering other supports. More requests and interest was shown for job-seeking resources in Union City and in all three sites.