In working with families affected by substance abuse, child welfare workers begin by engaging the family through a nonjudgmental approach that communicates empathy and acknowledges the difficulty of discussing such an issue. Workers also must be skilled at developing partnerships with community service providers and the courts to build networks of support that will strengthen families and keep children safe. Strategies to increase the effectiveness of child-centered, family-focused casework practice focus on the following issues:
- Preventing child abuse and neglect
- Family engagement and retention
- Co-occurring issues
- Responding to substance-exposed newborns
- Permanency planning
- Worker safety
Case Management for Substance Abusing Parents and Their Children (PDF - 584 KB)
The Source: Newsletter of the National Abandoned Infants Assistance Resource Center, 12(1), 2003
Addresses parental substance abuse and family reunification, casework practice with parents returning from prison, the power of parallel process in interventions with families affected by substance abuse, and juggling the multiple facets of case management with relative caregiver families.
Children in Substance-Abusing Families
In Social Work Practice With Children
Examines the role of the social worker in cases involving parental substance abuse and considerations when providing services and treatment.
National Center on Substance Abuse and Child Welfare.;United States. Children's Bureau.;United States. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. Center for Substance Abuse Treatment.
Young, Nancy K.
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Identifying Mental Health and Substance Use Problems of Children and Adolescents: A Guide for Child-Serving Organizations (PDF - 2,970 KB)
Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (2011)
Addresses approaches, methods, and strategies used to identify mental health and substance use problems of high-risk youths in settings that serve a broad spectrum of children and adolescents or a high-risk population.
NASW Standards for Social Work Practice With Clients With Substance Use Disorders (PDF - 189 KB)
National Association of Social Workers (2005)
Presents an overview of the NASW standards for social work practice, including standards for screening, placement, intervention, and more.
Through the Eyes of the Child: CJI-AOD Tool Kitâ€”Catch the Vision! 20 Recommended Practices to Help Families in the Child Protection Court System With Alcohol and Other Drug Issues (PDF - 430 KB)
Minnesota Children's Justice Initiative (2006)
Recommends best practices for practitioners and supervisors to ensure that abused and neglected children involved in the child protection system have safe, stable, permanent families by improving parental and family recovery from alcohol or other drug problems.