Integrating Trauma Screening and SBIRT into W-2 Case Management Services

Helping parents and pregnant women who are low income obtain and retain employment in 16 Wisconsin counties

Full Project Name:Integrating Trauma Screening and SBIRT to Enhance W-2 Case Management ServicesPrimary Community Organization:Workforce Resource, Inc.Primary Academic Partner:Leslie Ruffalo, PhD, MS, Family MedicineAward Amount:$400,000
Award Date
Project Duration:36 months

Project Description Narrative:

Wisconsin Works (W-2) is a Wisconsin Department of Children and Families program that provides employment preparation services, case management, and cash assistance to parents and pregnant women who are low income. Data has shown that poverty in adulthood is linked to depressive disorders, anxiety disorders, and psychological distress, making it very difficult to secure employment let alone maintain employment. Although participants are surveyed at intake regarding their mental health needs, there has been no emphasis on how participants' mental health needs impact their ability to attain and retain employment while enrolled in W-2.

This project will integrate the trauma-screening, brief intervention and referral to treatment (T-SBIRT) protocol into case management processes to promote participants' resilience in responding to trauma, accessing mental health services, managing emotions with healthy coping skills, and success in obtaining and retaining employment. During the first year, T-SBIRT will be piloted in Ashland and Eau Claire Counties with the goal to expand to 14 additional counties (Barron, Bayfield, Burnett, Chippewa, Clark, Douglas, Dunn, Iron, Pierce, Polk, Rusk, Sawyer, St. Croix and Washburn).

Project Updates:

  • Established foundational elements for project implementation, hiring project coordinator and T-SBIRT coordinator and establishing project team meeting schedules
  • Established dedicated effort to build and sustain resource and service referral networks through regular engagement and communication with partners
  • Submitted IRB protocol for evaluation of pilot program
  • Completed T-SBIRT training with WRI financial employment planners (FEPs) and additional personnel, equipping FEPs with the ability to implement trauma screening process
  • Launched pilot project, implementing T-SBIRT protocol in both Eau Claire and Ashland Counties and began collection of pilot project data. To date, the project is averaging three T-SBIRT screenings per week, with 95% of those screened being referred to both mental health resources or social need services

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8701 W Watertown Plank Road,
Milwaukee, WI 53226-0509
(414) 955-4350