U.S Department of Health and Human Services U.S Department of Health and Human Services, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration
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Child Welfare Training Toolkit

Understanding Substance Use Disorders, Treatment, and Recovery


Module 2 provides child welfare professionals with an understanding about alcohol and drug issues, treatment, and recovery. It provides information and learning opportunities designed to support child welfare professionals in working with families from various cultural groups affected by alcohol- and/or drug-related problems.

Learning Objectives

After completing Module 2, child welfare professionals will have an understanding of the following topics:

  • Types of substances and their effects
  • Methods of usage
  • Continuum of use, abuse, dependence
  • Pathways from use, abuse, dependence
  • Differential impact of substance use disorders on communities of color
  • Brain chemistry of addiction
  • Signs and symptoms of potential use, abuse, dependence in the context of home visitation and child welfare practice
  • Culturally appropriate screening tools for determining if a further comprehensive assessment by an alcohol and drug treatment professional is needed
  • Treatment models, cultural competency in treatment and treatment effectiveness
  • Recovery process and progression
  • Effects of alcohol and drug issues on interpersonal relationships and family dynamics, care of children, etc.
    • Isolation
    • Negative social network
    • Poor parenting skills
    • Endangering behaviors
    • Emergence of a "don't tell, don't trust and don't feel" complex, reflecting learned behaviors that emerge as a result of the effects of alcohol and drug use and/or abuse.
  • Relapse prevention and long-term recovery maintenance in the context of safety assessment and safety planning