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Substance Abuse and Incarceration
The following resources address working with children, youth, and families when a parent with substance abuse problems is incarcerated.
The National GAINS Center
Center for Mental Health Services
Collects and disseminates information about effective mental health and substance abuse services for people with co-occurring disorders in contact with the justice system.
Attachment and Reunification: Building Parental Skills (PDF - 144 KB)
Discusses the attachment difficulties of children who have incarcerated mothers with co-occurring mental and substance use disorders. Explains necessary components of jail-based treatment programs and strategies for reunification planning, including descriptions of several promising programs.
Breaking Through the Bars: Exploring the Experiences of Addicted Incarcerated Parents Whose Children Are Cared for by Relatives
Smith, Krisman, Strozier, & Marley
Families in Society: The Journal of Contemporary Social Services, 85(2), 2004
Results of interviews with incarcerated men and women who received substance abuse treatment while their children were being cared for by relatives. Questions explored issues such as parent-child bonding, relationships with caregivers, and the impact of drug abuse and incarceration on the family.
Case Management for Substance Abusing Parents and Their Children (PDF - 584 KB)
The Source: Newsletter of the National Abandoned Infants Assistance Resource Center, 12(1), 2003
Articles address parental substance abuse and family reunification, casework practice with parents returning from prison, the power of parallel process in interventions with families affected by substance abuse, and juggling the multiple facets of case management with relative caregiver families.
Posttraumatic Stress Disorder and Substance Abuse Among Incarcerated Women
Battle, Zlotnick, Najavits, Gutierrez, & Winsor (2002)
In Trauma and Substance Abuse: Causes, Consequences, and Treatment of Comorbid Disorders
Reviews existing and developing treatments designed to address post-traumatic stress disorder and substance abuse among incarcerated women.
Residential and Institutional Services: Visitation and Cohabitation Strategies (PDF - 96 KB)
National GAINS Center (2002)
Discusses the types of residential and institutional services that jails should provide mothers with co-occurring disorders to support mother-child attachment.
Services for Children of Incarcerated Mothers With Co-Occurring Disorders (PDF - 88 KB)
Explains the impact of incarceration, mental disorders, and substance abuse on the family and the attachment development of children. Includes a description of the key components for programs providing services to young children and school-aged children.
Substance-Abusing Women and Their Children: A Cost-Effective Treatment Option to Incarceration
D'Arlach, Curtis, Ferrari, Olson, & Jason
Journal of Social Work Practice in the Addictions, 6(4), 2006
Reviews the effects of incarceration and the available treatment options for mothers with substance abuse problems. An alternative treatment model is suggested to help mothers gain financial and emotional stability.