Children and youth involved with child welfare may also use substances. Research suggests that individuals who have experienced trauma due to abuse or neglect may experience higher rates of substance use and co-occurring disorders such as depression or posttraumatic stress disorder. To prevent additional physical, emotional, or psychological trauma, it's important to understand the effects of substance use on this vulnerable population. Resources in this section point to research related to the substance use and co-occurring issues affecting children and youth, provide information about assessment, and highlight effective programs for prevention and treatment.
- Responding to infants affected by substance exposure
- Children and youth affected by parental substance use disorders
- Permanency planning with families affected by substance use disorders
Delinquency, Depression, and Substance Use Disorder Among Child Welfare-Involved Adolescent Females
Lalayants & Prince (2014)
Child Abuse and Neglect, 38(4)
Uses logistic regression to predict depression from delinquency (and vice versa), and Substance Use Disorder (SUD) from delinquency (and vice versa) amongst child-welfare involved adolescent females.
Facts for Policymakers: The Need for an Integrated System of Care for Youth With Traumatic Stress and Substance Use Disorders (PDF - 321 KB)
National Child Traumatic Stress Network (2011)
Presents statistics on the high rates of trauma exposure and substance abuse among adolescents and offers recommendations for developing a youth-oriented integrated system of care that addresses the complex needs of youth with traumatic exposure and co-occurring substance use disorders.
Identifying Mental Health and Substance Use Problems of Children and Adolescents: A Guide for Child-Serving Organizations (PDF - 2,954 KB)
Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, Center for Mental Health Services
Addresses the approaches, methods, and strategies used to identify mental health and substance use problems of high-risk youths (persons whose ages are between birth and 22 years) in settings that serve either a broad spectrum of children and adolescents or a high-risk population. It is written for personnel working in child-serving organizations and the families of the children and adolescents being served.
Infusing Early Intervention for Substance Use Into Community Mental Health Services for Transitioning Youth
Taylor & Elizabeth (2011)
Social Work in Mental Health, 9(3)
Discusses the potential of effective alcohol and other drug (AOD) screening and early intervention practices for facilitating a healthy transition to adulthood for youth who experience considerable risk for substance abuse disorders. Also describes the community mental health system characteristics to be considered in developing early intervention practices.
Mental Health and Substance Use Disorders Among Foster Youth Transitioning to Adulthood: Past Research and Future Directions
Havlicek, Garcia, & Smith (2013)
Children and Youth Services Review, 35(1)
Reviews 16 peer-reviewed articles and/or research reports to identify lifetime and past year prevalence rates of mental health disorders and service utilization.
Prevalence and Timing of Diagnosable Mental Health, Alcohol, and Substance Use Problems Among Older Adolescents in the Child Welfare System
Keller, Salazar, & Courtney (2010)
Children and Youth Services Review, 32(4)
Reports the prevalence of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), major depression, alcohol abuse/dependence, and substance abuse/dependence diagnoses assessed with a structured clinical interview protocol in a population-based, multi-State, age cohort of older adolescents about to exit child welfare systems.
Screening and Assessment for Co-Occuring Disorders in Adolescents in the Justice System
Fox, Kanary, & Shepler (2019)
The Technical Assistance Network for Children’s Behavioral Health
Explains the need for integrated screening and assessment to identify co-occurring substance abuse and mental disorders in adolescents. Resources for the screening and assessment of adolescents are presented, including the Global Appraisal of Individual Needs-Short Screener and CRAFFT. Comprehensive assessment tools are also profiled, including the Teen Addiction Severity Index and the Comprehensive Adolescent Severity Inventory. A list of additional resources for mental health and substance use/co-occurring disorders, trauma and victimization, and juvenile justice are also listed.
Stress, Mental Health, and Substance Abuse Problems in a Sample of Diversion Program Youths: An Exploratory Latent Class Analysis
Demboa, Brionesa, Gulledgeb, Karasc, & Wintersd (2012)
Journal of Child and Adolescent Substance Abuse, 21(2)
Discusses an analysis on baseline information collected on youth involved in diversion programs. Results identified two groups of youths: the first, a majority of the youths, who had high levels of delinquency, mental health, and substance abuse issues; and the second, youths with low levels of these problems. Comparison of these two groups on a variety of psychosocial measures and parent/guardian reports found differences between them that were consistent with their problem group classification.
Taking Effective Treatments to Scale: Organizational Effects on Outcomes of Multisystemic Therapy for Youths with Co-Occurring Substance Use
Schoenwald, Chapman, Henry, & Sheidow (2012)
Journal of Child and Adolescent Substance Abuse, 21(1)
Examines organizational climate and structure effects on the behavior and functioning of delinquent youths with and without co-occurring substance use that is treated with an evidence-based treatment (EBT) for serious antisocial behavior.
Trauma Histories Among Justice-Involved Youth: Findings From the National Child Traumatic Stress Network
Dierkhising, Ko, Woods-Jaeger, Briggs, Lee, & Pynoos (2013)
European Journal of Psychotraumatology, 4
Describes detailed trauma histories, mental health problems, and associated risk factors (i.e., academic problems, substance/alcohol use, and concurrent child welfare involvement) among adolescents with recent involvement in the juvenile justice system. The National Child Traumatic Stress Network Core Data Set (NCTSN-CDS) is used to address these aims.
Trauma, Psychiatric, Substance Use, and Thought Disorders Among Youth in the Juvenile Justice System and How to Deal with Them
Huskey & Tomczak (2013)
Juvenile and Family Court Journal, 64(3)
Presents the heartbreaking personal stories that youth in juvenile facilities report to their counselors. This article discusses the development of trauma and its impact within child's developing brain.