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April 2000Vol. 1, No. 2Guidance for Treating Substance Abusers Affected by Child Abuse and Neglect Issues

The Center for Substance Abuse Treatment (CSAT) has released best practice guidelines for treating individuals affected by both substance abuse and child abuse and neglect. CSAT is an agency of the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Substance Abuse Treatment for Persons With Child Abuse and Neglect Issues examines substance abuse treatment for:

  • Adult survivors of child abuse and neglect
  • Adults in treatment for substance abuse who may be abusing or neglecting their own children.

The publication includes:

  • Screening and assessment tools to determine a client's history of childhood abuse or neglect
  • Guidelines on treating clients with histories of child abuse and neglect, including referral to mental health services
  • Help for counselors who may encounter personal issues
  • Guidelines for identifying clients who are currently, or at risk of, abusing or neglecting their children and recommended interventions
  • Legal issues that counselors should be aware of as mandated reporters.

The manual also provides background information and statistics on child abuse and neglect; a review of literature documenting links between childhood abuse and subsequent substance abuse; and a discussion of continuing and emerging trends, such as fast-track adoption and welfare reform. Appendices include an extensive bibliography, legal advice on protecting clients' privacy, implications of recent Federal legislation for clients in treatment, sources for screening and assessment tools, organizations related to childhood trauma among adults, resource panelists, and field reviewers.

This document is #36 in CSAT's Treatment Improvement Protocol (TIP) series.

Order a free, print copy of the document from SAMHSA's National Clearinghouse for Alcohol and Drug Information (NCADI), 800-729-6686 or TDD (for hearing impaired) 800-487-4889.

Access the entire TIP series online via the National Library of Medicine's website at or NCADI's website at

Related Item

A related 1999 Department of Health and Human Services report to Congress entitled Blending Perspectives and Building Common Ground addresses substance abuse and its relationship to child maltreatment. The text of the report is available online at Free print copies are available from the National Clearinghouse on Child Abuse and Neglect Information (, 800-FYI-3366.