Research indicates a link between parental and caregiver substance use disorders and child maltreatment. While estimates vary, studies show that one-third to two-thirds of child maltreatment cases involve substance use to some degree.1 The following resources provide information on co-occurring substance use and child maltreatment, including their scope, complexity, and impact.
Are Decisions to Substantiate Impacted by Caseworkers' Perceptions of Domestic Violence or Parental Substance Misuse?
Casey Family Programs (2020)
Presents the results of a study to determine whether caseworkers' perceptions of domestic violence and substance use in the home influenced their decision to substantiate maltreatment. Findings showed the identification of substance use alone increased the probability of substantiation by 150 percent and that the identification of domestic violence alone increased it by 50 percent.
Behavioral Health and Wellness Resources for Children and Families
Is There a Link Between Parental Drug Use and the Prevalence of Child Maltreatment and/or the Increase in the Number of Children in Foster Care?
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families, Children's Bureau
Explores the link between substance use and child maltreatment and describes why it is difficult to obtain accurate statistics on the number of families affected by substance use.
Parental Substance Use as Child Abuse
Parental Substance Use Disorder and Child Abuse: Risk Factors for Child Maltreatment?
Goldberg & Blaauw (2019)
Psychiatry, Psychology and Law, 26(6)
Examines risk factors associated with child abuse among parents with substance use disorders.
Prenatal Alcohol and Other Drug Exposures in Child Welfare Study
Ingoldsby, Richards, & Usher, et al. (2021)
Presents findings of a federally funded case study conducted to examine Federal and State policies that guide child welfare prenatal substance use identification and care, including awareness of practices and how information is documented and shared.
State Behavioral and Wellness Resources for Children and Families
1Child Welfare Information Gateway. (2014). Parental substance use and the child welfare system. Retrieved from https://www.childwelfare.gov/pubs/factsheets/parentalsubuse/