Parental substance use disorders are recognized as a risk factor for child maltreatment and child welfare involvement. However, identifying substance use and meeting the complex needs of parents with substance use disorders and the needs of their children can be challenging. Resources in this section offer research on the intersection of parental substance use and child well-being, information on the effects of parental substance use on children, the role substance use disorder treatment professionals may play in Federal Child and Family Services Reviews (CFSRs), and more.
- State and local examples
- Preventing child abuse and neglect in families affected by substance use
- Family engagement and retention in substance use case planning
Caregiver Substance Use and Child Trauma: Implications for Social Work Research and Practice
Staton-Tindall, Sprang, & Straussner (2014)
Presents research which highlights the co-occurrence of caregiver substance misuse and child trauma exposure. Investigates the work done within and across the disciplines of adult substance abuse, child welfare, and child mental health, including the measurement of key terms, conceptualization of primary variables, and suggestions of implications for translational science to practice.
Drug Testing in Child Welfare: Practice and Policy Considerations (PDF - 904 KB)
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, National Center on Substance Abuse and Child Welfare
Guides child welfare agency policymakers in developing practice and policy protocols regarding the use of drug testing in child welfare practice. The paper focuses primarily on the drug testing of parents who come to the attention of child welfare agencies and courts through reports of child abuse or neglect.
Maternal Patterns of Marijuana Use and Early Sexual Behavior in Offspring of Teenage Mothers
De Genna, Goldschmidt, & Cornelius (2015)
Maternal and Child Health Journal, 19(12)
Describes trajectories of marijuana use in teenage mothers and determines if these trajectories were associated with early sexual behavior in their offspring. Findings suggested that a minority of teenage mothers continue to use marijuana over time and chronic maternal marijuana use across a decade was associated with early sex in offspring.
NASW Standards for Social Work Practice With Clients With Substance Use Disorders (PDF - 146 KB)
National Association of Social Workers (2013)
Developed to broadly define the scope of services that social workers shall provide to clients with substance use disorders, 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.
Nurturing Program for Families in Substance Abuse Treatment and Recovery [Webinar]
National Center on Substance Abuse and Child Welfare
Discusses practical issues around the implementation of the Nurturing Program for Families in Substance Abuse Treatment and Recovery which was designed to address the specific needs of families affected by parental substance use disorders. The curriculum focuses on the effects of substance use disorders on families, parenting, and the parent-child relationship.
Parenting and Substance Abuse: Developmental Approaches to Intervention
Suchman, Pajulo, & Mayes (2013)
Reports on pioneering efforts to move the treatment of substance-abusing parents forward by embracing their roles and experiences as mothers and fathers directly and continually across the course of treatment. The book discusses theoretical understandings of how addiction impacts the developmental processes of parenting in addition to exploring risk assessment, evaluation, and a variety of interventions and therapies.
Shame, and the Way it Impacts the Relationship Between Mothers with Substance Abuse Disorder and Child welfare Social Workers (PDF - 403 KB)
California State University, Fresno, School of Health and Social Work
Utilizes methods of grounded theory to explore how shame impacts mothers with substance abuse disorder (SUD) and their involvement with the child welfare system.
Social Work Intervention with Co-addicted Couples (PDF - 2,158 KB)
Simmons & Hopping-Winn (2013)
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Children's Bureau, National Abandoned Infants Assistance Resource Center
Discusses social work practices to use with co-addicted couples and explains the characteristics of couples who use substances. The brief also explains the impact of relationships on the addiction of women, and the need for treatment and social service providers to work with them and with their partners.
Substance Abuse Specialists in Child Welfare Agencies and Dependency Courts: Considerations for Program Designers and Evaluators (PDF - 299 KB)
Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (2010)
Focuses on the placing of substance abuse specialists in either child welfare offices or dependency courts to ensure that parents are assessed as quickly as possible, improve parent engagement and retention in treatment, streamline entry into treatment, and provide consultation to child welfare and dependency court workers. In addition to briefly describing substance abuse specialist programs and their various components, this paper includes findings from eight qualitative interviews of programs that place substance abuse specialists in child welfare offices or dependency courts.
Trauma and Substance Abuse Among Child Welfare Involved African American Mothers: A Case Study
Blakey & Smith Hatcher (2013)
Journal of Public Child Welfare, 7(2)
Uses a multiple embedded case study design to highlight the experiences of African American mothers with substance-abuse histories who were trying to regain custody of their children.