The opioid crisis has created significant strain on the child welfare system as more children and youth enter care as a result of their parents’ substance use disorders. Several factors are involved in addressing the opioid epidemic at national, State, and local levels, including reducing stigma to increase treatment seeking, increasing collaboration between key stakeholders, and supporting children and youth who enter foster care as a result of their parents' opioid use. Below, find resources to support child welfare professionals working with families affected by opioid use disorders.
A Collaborative Approach to the Treatment of Pregnant Women With Opioid Use Disorders (PDF - 1,520 KB)
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families, Children's Bureau & Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (2016)
Outlines the needs of pregnant women with substance use disorders and highlights specific policy practices to address these needs.
ACOG Committee Opinion: Opioid Use and Opioid Use Disorder in Pregnancy
American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) & American Society of Addiction Medication (2017)
Discusses standards of care, including methadone therapy, for women with opioid use disorders during pregnancy.
Essential Information About the Treatment of Opioid Use 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 several validated treatment protocols that combine medications, counseling, and relapse prevention in order to address opioid use disorders.
The Ripple Effect: The Impact of the Opioid Epidemic on Children and Families
Levine & Brundage (2019)
Milbank Memorial Fund
Describes the long-term effects of the opioid crisis on child development and family preservation services.
Substance Abuse and Child Welfare Resources
National Conference of State Legislatures (2019)
Provides resources and legislatives overviews about State-level initiatives designed to address the opioid crisis’s effect on child abuse and neglect.
Substance Use, the Opioid Epidemic and the Child Welfare System: Key Findings From a Mixed Methods Study
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of the Assistance Secretary for Planning and Evaluation (2018)
Examines the effect of the opioid epidemic on child welfare casework practice, including increased caseloads and a need for increased collaboration with community partners.
Overview of State Legislation to Increase Access to Treatment for Opioid Overdose
National Association of State Alcohol and Drug Abuse Directors (2015)
Compiles information about State-level legislation regarding the provision of opioid overdose treatment.
Young Victims of the Opioid Crisis
Monitor on Psychology, 49(1)
American Psychological Association
Describes the psychological effects of parental substance use disorders and best practices for treating the mental health concerns of these children and youth while in foster care.
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, National Center of Substance Abuse and Child Welfare
Highlights webinars about topics specific to the intersection of child welfare and substance use, including methods for supporting families affected by opioid use disorders and infants with prenatal substance exposure as well as the following:
- Resources to Support Families in Child Welfare Affected by Opioid and Other Substance Use Disorders
- Supporting Families in Child Welfare Affected by Opioid and Other Substance Use Disorders