About CARS



The Center started in 1995 as a pilot program under UT Southwestern Medical Center’s Division of Community Women’s Health Care, working with pregnant women with substance use or misuse issues. The pilot was successful and the Texas Department of State Health Services (known at that time as Texas Commission on Alcohol and Drug Abuse) developed the Pregnant Postpartum Intervention Program (PPI), under which the New Connections Family Intervention PPI program has been funded since 1996.


The New Connections Family Intervention project received national recognition in 2000 as an Exemplary Substance Abuse Prevention Program, one of only 30 programs recognized that year. The awards ceremony in Washington, D.C. was sponsored by the federal Center for Substance Abuse Prevention (CSAP), the National Association of State Alcohol and Drug Abuse Directors (NASDAD) and the National Prevention Network (NPN).


In 2004, is began the Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) Prevention Project, funded by the Texas Office for Prevention of Developmental Disabilities and has staff currently certified to provide this FASD training. Also in 2004, funding was obtained from the Office of the Governor – Criminal Justice Division to begin the Staying Connected Program, a prevention program targeting teens.


In 2006, the programs moved from UT Southwestern to UT Arlington’s School of Social Work, which has been committed to the advancement of knowledge and pursuit of excellence to provide leadership and service in promoting social justice, to respect diverse cultures, and to enhance well-being in local, state, national and global arenas.


That same year, the program obtained funding to begin a Youth Prevention Selective Program from the Texas Department of State Health Services. In 2008 additional funding from the Office of the Governor – Criminal Justice Division funds were obtained to expand the youth prevention services along with a contract with Department of Family and Protective Services to provide parenting instruction for women with substance use disorders.


A significant change occurred in 2011 when the program transitioned into a research center, the Center for Addiction and Recovery Studies (CARS). Since then, UTA faculty have conducted research on trauma, smoking and parental knowledge of child development. CARS continues to grow in programs offered to the community as well as research provided to add to the knowledge base of substance abuse – prevention, intervention and recovery support.

Community Partners

CARS builds community partnerships in providing evidenced-based interventions and research.

  • Baylor Scott and White Hospital - Dallas
  • Department of Family and Protective Services
  • Grand Prairie Independent School District
  • Grand Prairie Pregnancy Resource Center
  • New Seasons Treatment

CARS participates in the following community coalitions:

  • Alliance on Underage Drinking
  • Dallas Area Drug Prevention Partnership
  • Dallas County Recovery Oriented Systems of Care (ROSC)
  • Prevention Partnership
  • Tobacco Free North Texas

Strategic Plan

CARS has three focuses that work together to achieve its purpose

Community Service

To deliver quality, evidenced-based, researched programs and piloting prevention, intervention and recovery support services to the community.

Intern Training

To provide interns with experiential training and supervision to prepare them for excellence in social work services.


To conduct research and facilitate faculty research in order to add to the knowledge base of prevention, intervention and recovery support of substance abuse, mental health and trauma.

The CARS Strategic Plan supports the Strategic Plans of the University of Texas at Arlington and the School of Social Work. Key concepts include:

  1. Adding to research on interventions with substance use disorders or substance misuse;
  2. Facilitating new research opportunities through funding Faculty Associates, obtaining research grants, and linking community partners with faculty;
  3. Increasing community collaborations throughout Dallas and Tarrant counties;
  4. Increase Communication through quarterly newsletters to community partners, funders, faculty and students; informational emails, open houses and social media outlets;
  5. Provide professional training to the community while keeping current with the latest information in substance abuse trends, prevention, intervention, and recovery research;
  6. Provide a replicated model of excellent intern training;
  7. Conduct continuous quality monitors on all aspects of programming;
  8. Make capital improvements and broaden funding sources to ensure sustainability.

CARS Strategic Plan specifically addresses:

  1. UT Arlington’s Initiative of researching developments on Health and the Human Condition.
  2. UT Arlington’s Initiative of integrating Data Driving Discovery from multiple disciplines.
  3. The School of Social Work’s goal to enhance our research capacity and impact.
  4. The School of Social Work’s goal to foster a culture of professional development and mutual respect.
  5. The School of Social Work’s goal to enhance the quality of external collaborations and professional service by faculty and staff.



  • Criminal Justice Division - VOCA

  • Texas Department of Health and Human Services, Substance Abuse Division

  • Private donations