There is a strong connection between substance use disorders and mental health. Substance use can sometimes lead to mental health concerns—and vice versa—and both substance use and mental health issues often have similar causes, such as experiencing trauma. Child welfare and other related professionals should understand the connections between these two topics, know how to screen and assess for both substance use and mental health issues, and provide referrals to the appropriate supports and services.
Building Your Program: Integrated Treatment for Co-Occurring Disorders (PDF - 673 KB)
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, Center for Mental Health Services (2009)
Offers guidance for developing an integrated treatment model for addressing co-occurring mental and substance use disorders across systems.
Child Welfare Training Toolkit: Helping Child Welfare Workers Support Families With Substance Use, Mental Health, and Co-Occurring Disorders
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, National Center on Substance Abuse and Child Welfare
Provides a training for child welfare workers about substance use and co-occurring disorders among families involved in the child welfare system. The training comprises seven modules on topics such as understanding substance use disorders, treatment, and recovery; case planning; engagement and intervention; and more.
Module 3: Understanding Co-occurring Substance Use Disorders, Mental Health/Trauma, and Domestic Violence (PDF - 4,782 KB)
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, National Center on Substance Abuse and Child Welfare (2019)
Offers training to support child welfare professionals in identifying and recognizing hallmark symptoms of mental health disorders and their interaction with trauma, domestic violence, and substance use disorders in order to better connect families with appropriate treatment.
National Council for Behavioral Health, State Associations of Addictions Services
Presents the website of a membership organization consisting of more than 2,200 community behavioral/mental health and addiction treatment organizations serving more than 8 million adults and children living with mental illnesses and addictions in the United States.
NASW Standards for Social Work Practice With Clients With Substance Use Disorders (PDF - 146 KB)
National Association of Social Workers (NASW) (2013)
Defines the scope of services that social workers provide to clients with substance use disorders, including co-occurring mental health issues, that clients and their families should expect, and that program administrators should support. The standards are also designed to enhance awareness of the skills, knowledge, values, methods, and sensitivities that social workers need to work effectively within systems dedicated to serving clients with substance use disorders.
Supporting Recovery in Parents With Co-Occurring Disorders in Child Welfare
Ward, Barry, Laliberte, & Meyer-Kalos (2016)
Practice Notes, 26
Center for Advanced Studies in Child Welfare
Offers guidance on creating and maintaining a recovery-oriented approach in addressing substance use disorders among child welfare-involved parents.
Substance Use and Mental Health in Teens and Young Adults: Your Guide to Recognizing and Addressing Co-Occurring Disorders (PDF - 4,710 KB)
Child Mind Institute & Center on Addiction (2019)
Provides guidance on effective treatments for addressing substance use disorders and mental health disorders common in adolescence.