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Module 3 – Understanding Co-Occurring Substance Use Disorders, Mental Health/Trauma, and Domestic Violence

Description and Objectives

The goal of Training Module 3 is to provide in-depth information and learning opportunities to support child welfare workers in working with diverse families affected by mental health disorders, co-occurring disorders, trauma, and domestic violence. It presents signs and symptoms of co-occurring and mental health disorders and includes domestic violence terminology. The module also includes an overview of treatment modalities within a culturally competent, family-centered framework.

After completing this training, child welfare workers will:

  • Identify the spectrum and types of mental health disorders.
  • Recognize signs and symptoms of co-occurring and mental health disorders.
  • Explain the effect of trauma on co-occurring disorders.
  • Recognize domestic violence in the child welfare population.
  • Recognize the effects of co-occurring and mental health disorders on interpersonal relationships and parenting.
  • Engage with families to identify co-occurring and mental health disorders.
  • Understand treatment effectiveness and recovery from co-occurring disorders.

Training Tips

  • Use the *** bolded discussion questions integrated in the module talking points to enrich the training.
  • Partner with a local mental health and domestic violence service provider to co-facilitate the training.
  • Share or incorporate agency policy and procedures.
  • Provide a list of local resources.
  • Highlight child welfare programs with expertise in serving families affected by mental health disorders and domestic violence, or programs that provide family-centered treatment.
  • Contact the National Center on Substance Abuse and Child Welfare for more information about using the Collaborative Values Inventory in your community.


  • Computer and projector
  • Speakers
  • Internet access
  • PowerPoint slides
  • Facilitator's Guide
  • Flip chart paper or white board (for use as a visual aid during discussion)

Find Help with a Personal Situation

Substance Use and Mental Health Treatment Locator

To find treatment facilities confidentially, 24/7, please call 1-800-662-4357 (HELP).

To locate general treatment services, visit the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s (SAMHSA’s) Treatment Locator online or call 1-800-662-4357 (HELP). This service provides referrals to local treatment facilities, support groups, and community-based organizations. It is a free, confidential, 24-hour-a-day, 365-day-a year information service, in English and Spanish, for individuals and family members needing treatment for a mental and/or substance use disorder.

National Child Abuse Hotline

If you suspect a child has been harmed by abuse or neglect, please call 1-800-422-4453.

If you suspect that a child has been harmed or is at risk of being harmed by abuse or neglect, call the National Child Abuse Hotline at Call the National Child Abuse Hotline at 1-800-422-4453. Serving the United States and Canada, the hotline is staffed 24 hours a day, 7 days a week with professional crisis counselors who—through interpreters—provide assistance in over 170 languages. All calls, texts, and chats are confidential. If you believe a child is in immediate danger of harm, call 911 first.

National Suicide Prevention Line

For free and confidential support for people in distress, 24/7, please call or text 988, chat, or call 1-800-273-8255.

If you or someone you know is having thoughts of suicide or experiencing a mental health or substance use crisis, help is available and there are options to receive compassionate care. You can call or text 988 or chat You can also call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (1-800-273-8255). Both are confidential and available 24/7 to everyone in the United States and will connect you to a trained counselor at a suicide crisis center nearest you.

Contact Us

The National Center on Substance Abuse and Child Welfare offers free technical assistance to a variety of systems on making policy and practice changes to improve outcomes for families affected by substance use disorders and involvement with child welfare services. To learn more about technical assistance services or if you have a question please email NCSACW at or call toll-free at 1–866–493–2758.

National Center on Substance Abuse and Child Welfare