- August 2003
- Vol. 4, No. 6
Building Successful Collaborations Between Child Welfare and Substance Abuse Treatment
Studies suggest 40 to 80 percent of families in the child welfare system are affected by parental addiction to drugs or alcohol, but treatment services, especially those that allow families to stay together, are relatively scarce. The Adoption and Safe Families Act of 1997 (ASFA), which set time limits on reunification services for families and accelerated the permanency planning process, created new challenges for these families and the systems that serve them.
Safe & Sound: Models for Collaboration Between the Child Welfare & Addiction Treatment Systems, a new report by the Legal Action Center, provides background on the problems of addiction in the child welfare system, discusses ASFA's implications for families at risk, and presents case studies of two local collaborations among addiction treatment, child welfare, and family court systems.
Cuyahoga County, Ohio, and Cook County, Illinois, were selected to represent a county-administered and a State-administered child welfare system, respectively, that recognize the role of parental addiction. The report documents how these systems have taken steps to facilitate collaboration, along with the continuing challenges they face. A model for addressing addiction among families involved in the child welfare system presents promising approaches from each case study. The model includes suggestions for identifying funding, developing criteria for assessments, cross-training, and questionnaires for treatment providers and child welfare agencies.
The report is available online from the Legal Action Center at www.saasnet.org/Resources/SafeSoundReport.pdf.
Read more about links between substance abuse and child welfare in previous issues of Children's Bureau Express:
- "HHS Launches National Center on Substance Abuse and Child Welfare" (October 2002)
- "CWLA Addresses Intersection Between Substance Abuse and Child Abuse" (November/December 2001)