Greater awareness of the role of parental substance abuse in child maltreatment makes it imperative that the substance abuse treatment and child welfare systems coordinate services for these parents. Yet little is known about the characteristics of child-welfare involved parents (primarily mothers) who enter into substance abuse treatment. This paper compares the characteristics of mothers in substance abuse treatment who were and were not involved with child welfare services, and discusses the treatment implications of these differences.
Data were obtained from a statewide treatment outcome monitoring project in California. Clients were assessed at treatment admission using the Addiction Severity Index. Bivariate analyses and multivariate logistic regression were conducted comparing mothers who were (N=1,939) and were not (N=2,217) involved with child welfare.
Mothers who were involved with child welfare were younger, had more children, and had more economic problems. They were more likely to be referred by the criminal justice system or other service providers, to have a history of physical abuse, and to be treated in outpatient programs. They had lower levels of alcohol severity, but did not differ with regard to psychiatric severity or criminal involvement. Primary users of methamphetamine were disproportionately represented among this group and had a distinct profile from primary alcohol- and opiate-users.
Study findings suggest that mothers involved with child welfare enter substance abuse treatment through different avenues and present a clinical profile of treatment needs related to exposure to physical abuse, economic instability, and criminal justice involvement.
"When parents abuse substances, the likelihood that the family will remain involved with the child welfare system increases because the presence of substance abuse impacts the ability of the family to function which in turn impacts parenting ability (Wolock and Magura 1996). Moreover, when a parent abuses a substance, the family is more likely to endure economic difficulties (Grella et al. 2006) which further impedes one's parenting ability. When comorbidity between parental depression and substance abuse exists, parents are more likely to display violent behaviors towards children (Peiponen et al. 2006); thus, parenting ability is diminished and detrimental to the child's functioning (Peiponen et al. 2006). "
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: This qualitative study explores the perspective of 24 parents who were at risk for having their children placed in foster
care but ultimately retained custody of their children. We asked participants to reflect on their parenting needs prior to
Child and Protective Services involvement and if and/or how they implemented parent education skills post-intervention. Parents
most frequently cited stressors such as financial strain and single parenthood as contributing factors associated with their
involvement with the child welfare system. Many parents stated that they wanted help with their parenting practices and provided
their thoughts about time-out and physical punishment. Implications include assessing parental stress at the onset of services,
seeking to understand the unique needs of families, evaluating the impact of length of time services are offered, and helping
parents utilize age-appropriate discipline strategies.
Clinical Social Work Journal 12/2008; 36(4):341-354. DOI:10.1007/s10615-008-0173-1 · 0.27 Impact Factor
"ihood of reunification was substantially less ( by about 60% ) compared with mothers who were primary alcohol users . Our prior research with the CalTOP sample showed that child - welfare - involved mothers who were heroin / opioid users were older ( particularly compared with primary users of methamphetamine ) and had longer treatment histories ( Grella et al . , 2006 ) . Other research with mothers who are heroin / opioid users has shown substantial impairments in their functioning , often stemming from their long duration of drug use , residential instability , low levels of education and employment , and limited access to social support ( Lundgren , Schilling , Fitzgerald , Davis , & Amodeo , 2003"
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The effect of mothers' participation in substance abuse treatment on reunification with their children who are in out-of-home care is an important policy issue. This article examines the predictors of child reunification among mothers who participated in a statewide treatment outcome study. Data were integrated from multiple sources to determine the contributions of characteristics of mothers (n = 1,115), their children (n = 2,299), and treatment programs (n = 43) on reunification outcomes. Hierarchical linear modeling was used to determine the fixed and random effects of mother, child, and program characteristics. Mothers with more employment and psychiatric problems were less likely to be reunified with their children; completion of 90 or more days in treatment approximately doubled their likelihood of reunification. Mothers who were treated in programs providing a "high" level of family-related or education/employment services were approximately twice as likely to reunify with their children as those who were treated in programs with "low" levels of these services.
"The substantial services research literature connecting the provision of comprehensive services and service linkage to specific substance abuse and child welfare outcomes provides the basis for articulating specific components of a service integration model designed to overcome many of the barriers to service integration discussed above. Co-occurring service needs are common among women seeking substance abuse treatment, but co-occurring needs are especially characteristic of women with substance abuse problems involved with the child welfare system (Grella et al., 2006). Compelling evidence points to the potential of comprehensive services to improve child welfare outcomes for mothers involved with the child welfare system (Mullins, Bard, & Ondersma, 2005; Osterling, & Austin, 2008; Marsh et al., 2000). "
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Alcohol and other drug abuse is a major problem for children and families involved with public child welfare. Substance abuse compromises appropriate parenting practices and increases the risk of child maltreatment. A substantial proportion of substantiated child abuse and neglect reports involve parental substance abuse. Once in the system, children of substance-abusing families experience significantly longer stays in foster care and significantly lower rates of reunification. To address these problems, child welfare systems are developing service integration models that incorporate both substance abuse and child welfare services. This study provides an initial examination of the effectiveness of one service integration model that emphasizes the provision of intensive case management to link substance abuse and child welfare services. The authors used an experimental design and focused particular attention on two outcomes: access to substance abuse services and family reunification.The findings indicate that the families assigned to the experimental group used substance abuse services at a significantly higher rate and were more likely to achieve family reunification than were families in the control group.
Research on Social Work Practice 06/2006; 30(2):95-107. DOI:10.1093/swr/30.2.95 · 1.53 Impact Factor
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