Family Service of Rhode Island, CODAC to support children impacted by opioid epidemic with $750,000 federal grant


From left to right: Erin Albanese, Kate Prendergast, Sen. Jack Reed, Margaret Holland McDuff, and Sarah Kelly-Palmer. Credit: Office of Sen. Jack Reed.

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (November 7, 2018) — Children and youth who have been financially or emotionally impacted by their parents’ substance use disorder will now have support from a $750,000 federal grant awarded to Family Service of Rhode Island (FSRI). CODAC Behavioral Healthcare will work with FSRI to extend counseling, mentoring, and other support services as part of the Project Support Ocean State initiative, which is slated to commence immediately.

The addiction of a parent and its effect on children is profound, Sen. Jack Reed said during a Monday press conference. “If a parent suffers from addiction, children suffer also, even when they have no contact with any substance,” he said. “This grant will enable CODAC and Family Service to deliver coordinated services for a child, and it will build off the ongoing work of these organizations.” The three-year grant was awarded by the Office of Victims Crime, a federal office that provides aid to victims of crime from fees and fines collected from the criminal justice system.

Sen. Reed, a member of the Appropriations Committee who worked with other Rhode Island congressional delegates this summer to secure $12.5 million in federal funding to fight the opioid epidemic, praised both organizations for taking the initiative to help the ‘silent’ victims who have been impacted by the ongoing crisis.

“Rhode Island has been the epicenter of the national opioid epidemic and our children are being traumatized,” said Margaret Holland McDuff, CEO of FSRI.  “This could lead to domestic violence, separation through death or incarceration, sexual abuse, neglect, and more.” She noted the initiative, along with the support of CODAC, will help Rhode Island children receive specialized care and help address an issue that may have been overlooked in the crisis.

Kate Prendergast, vice president of quality improvement at CODAC, echoed the sentiments of Sen. Reed and Holland McDuff about the far-reaching effects of addiction on families and shared how the initiative will improve lives across Rhode Island. “Our children have become the unwitting victims in experiencing instability, separation, loss and grief, and we intend to do something about it,” Prendergast said on behalf of Linda Hurley, President/CEO of CODAC. “Project Support Ocean State will provide much needed trauma informed, direct support treatment services for children and their caretakers.”

The Rhode Island Department of Children, Youth, and Families is also a collaborator in this project. RI DCYF Director Trista Piccola, who could not attend the event, issued the following statement, “We congratulate Family Service of Rhode Island on their grant award. We know there is a great need across our state to continue to address the consequences of substance use disorders. I am hopeful that this work will expand on efforts associated with reducing stigma for families, which is something our department fully supports.”

Sarah Kelly-Palmer of FSRI will oversee the initiative.

About CODAC Behavioral Healthcare
Founded in 1971, CODAC Behavioral Healthcare is Rhode Island’s oldest and largest provider of outpatient services for opioid use disorder, other substance use disorders, and concurrent behavioral health challenges. With eight locations across Rhode Island, CODAC is uniquely positioned to provide services when and where they are needed. For more information about CODAC, visit: