Recovery-Oriented Systems of Care


A Recovery-Oriented System of Care is a coordinated network of community-based services and supports that is person-centered and builds on the strengths and resilience of individuals, families, and communities to achieve abstinence and improved health, wellness, and quality of life for those with or at risk of alcohol and drug problems. Recovery Oriented Systems of Care involves changing from the current approach to recovery which treats addiction as an acute crisis to understanding that recovery is a journey which often requires long-term supports and services. This means a move towards creating a system of care that views addiction as a chronic condition in the same manner that diabetes and other chronic conditions are understood.

System Development

Recovery System Development is the organization of prevention, treatment and recovery support services built on a foundation of self-efficacy and with strong connection to the community. It fosters resilience and enhances pre-recovery engagement, recovery initiation, long-term recovery maintenance and the quality of personal and family life in long-term recovery.

The core values of a well-designed system:

  • Assure that recovery-oriented strategies are an integral part of all systems;
  • Offers equal opportunity for holistic wellness;
  • Embraces cultural diversity;
  • Acknowledges the role that spirituality can play in the recovery process.
  • Requires data-informed decisions;
  • Use of language that is not stigmatizing;
  • recognizes the special need to address children’s recovery;
  • Collaboration across agencies and service systems;
  • Values Recovery as the focus in all phases of addiction services, from community-based prevention to acute care to community integration;
  • Is developed, implemented, managed, monitored and evaluated in partnership with people in recovery, their families and advocates;


Person-Centered Care

A person-centered recovery system includes the participation of people in recovery and offers on-going, individualized, strength-based pathways of recovery which begins with initial awareness that positive change is possible and continues with a process toward sustained recovery, the resolution of alcohol, drug and gambling problems, and ultimately the achievement of wellness and optimal health. Key elements of the person-centered systems include:

  • Acknowledges that there are many pathways to recovery;
  • Welcomes entry at any time; regardless of prior treatment experiences;
  • Provides rapid response to persons who have relapsed;
  • Includes a focus on prevention and early intervention for children, as well as recovery management in a  chronic care model for individuals, children, and families, where appropriate;
  • Are all-inclusive — everyone has the right to participate;
  • Relies on global assessment rather than a problem-focused approach;
  • Respects individual choice;
  • Promotes a partnership with professionals and peer supporters;
  • Values person-centered goals;
  • Recognizes that spirituality and faith can play a significant role in recovery; and
  • Builds on the strengths of the individual, family, and community.

Activities & Resources

Recovery Activities 

Recovery activities require the full participation of individuals in recovery as well as their family members and friends. These activities touch all aspects of their lives and promote self-acceptance, elimination of stigma and reliance on the unique benefits associated with peers helping peers. Recovery activities are intended to help initiate and sustain recovery across a lifetime. These services can be provided in any setting and can be offered concurrently with prevention and treatment efforts.  Existing recovery activities will be continuously expanded to include new evidence-based and promising practices. 

  • Recovery activities shall be available to effectively serve special populations such as incarcerated people and those re-entering communities from incarceration, people with co-occurring health and mental health challenges, veterans, and their families, and family members of individuals in recovery including children.
  • Recovery activities shall be provided by people who are sensitive to the emotional and cultural needs of individuals in recovery and their families. Peer-to-peer services capitalize on the experience, strength, and hope offered by other individuals in recovery. This sharing provides benefits to both parties.
  • Recovery activities shall enhance protective factors and reduce risk factors for alcohol, other drug and/or gambling problems. 
Recovery Resources

Recovery-Oriented Systems of Care recovery resources refer to funding and include, but are not limited to, allocation of time, space and financial support, and must be efficient, effective and responsive to the perception of care of the people served. Recovery resources supported by OASAS will be subject to outcome monitoring. Standardized measurements for individuals, families, communities and system evaluations will be developed.  Accurate and useful data will be readily accessible and will serve as an essential part of program planning, development, and funding decisions. Recovery resources will be contingent on consistent, effective service delivery approaches as well as standardized performance indicators, data measurement, and reporting strategies.

Recovery resources:

  • Are subject to performance standards;
  • Are subject to independent review;
  • Provide individual choice in accessing services;
  • Assure that people receiving services are protected from undue influence;
  • Promote continuous improvement.
  • include recovering people in funding decisions.
  • Recognize that there are natural and community supports unique to each family and individual.