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March 2008Vol. 9, No. 2Substance Abuse and Child Welfare Systems Change

Many children come to the attention of the child welfare system due to parental substance abuse. Systems change efforts that incorporate new ways to address parental substance abuse concerns help to ensure that families have the resources they need to provide a safe and stable environment for their children.

Some recent resources and articles on child welfare systems change efforts that address substance abuse include:

  • Through the Eyes of the Child: CJI-AOD Tool Kit: This summary of recommended practices and protocols is a product of Minnesota's Children's Justice Initiative Alcohol and Other Drug (CJI-AOD) workgroup. The toolkit is designed to assist frontline practitioners, as well as managers and supervisors who set policy in the child welfare, chemical health, and juvenile protection court systems.
  • Screening and Assessment for Family Engagement, Retention, and Recovery (SAFERR): This guidebook and tool were developed by the National Center on Substance Abuse and Child Welfare for caseworkers to use in screening parents for potential substance use disorders in order to make decisions about children's safety. (PDF - 3,510 KB)
  • National Evaluation of Family Treatment Drug Courts (FTDCs): Findings from a national evaluation of four Family Treatment Drug Courts in California, Nevada, and New York show the effectiveness of the FTDC model for treatment and child welfare outcomes.
    Executive summary: (PDF- 250 KB)
  • The Illinois Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse Waiver Demonstration: Illinois is in Phase II of a long-term study exploring the use of Federal funds to support the Recovery Coach Program, which provides intensive services for substance-abusing parents and their families involved with public child welfare.
  • Methamphetamine and Child Maltreatment (The Virginia Child Protection Newsletter, Spring 2007): This newsletter from the Virginia Department of Social Services offers an overview of the challenges methamphetamine use poses to the child welfare system and highlights some of the promising practices that practitioners can consider, including the use of interdisciplinary teams to respond to children removed from methamphetamine labs. (PDF - 2,260 KB)