Vermont Plans of Safe Care

President Obama signed the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act (CARA) into law in 2016. It was the first major federal legislation related to addiction in 40 years.

Child Abuse and Prevention Treatment Act (CAPTA)

Since 2003, the Child Abuse and Prevention Treatment Act (CAPTA) has required the development of Plans of Safe Care (POSC) for infants affected by illegal substance abuse. A 2010 amendment added infants affected by fetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD).

Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act (CARA)

In 2016, the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act (CARA) expanded the POSC requirement to include infants exposed to substance abuse during pregnancy (removed the term illegal), infants with substance withdrawal symptoms after birth, and infants suspected of having FASD. In addition, certain data must be reported to the Children’s Bureau annually about affected infants.

Each State is allowed to develop their own definitions, policies and procedures.

What Needs To Happen In Vermont

  1. A POSC should be developed for all substance-exposed infants, before they are discharged from the hospital after birth.
  2. It should be created with the parents/caregivers (ideally started prenatally), saved in the infant’s medical record, and shared with the infant’s primary care provider to facilitate communication and ensure follow-up of any new referrals placed after birth.
  3. A de-identified CAPTA notification form should be completed for substance-exposed newborns and submitted to the Family Services Division for annual reporting to the Children’s Bureau.

For more details and answers to frequently asked questions, see the documents below.

Guidance Documents

Frequently-Asked Questions

Vermont Resources


Have Questions?

Send an email to AHS.DCFFSDCAPTA@vermont.gov.