Children and Families Affected by Parental Substance Use Disorders (SUDs)

Children and Families Affected by Parental Substance Use Disorders (SUDs)

In the United States, about 1 in 8 children ages 17 or younger are living in households with at least one parent who has a substance use disorder. While these 8.7 million children will not all experience abuse or neglect, they are at increased risk for child maltreatment and child welfare involvement compared to other children.1 The children who are at a greater risk may be affected by trauma due to parental neglect, the results of their own prenatal substance exposure, chaotic environments, or removal by child welfare professionals. Policies and procedures that encourage parents to enter substance use treatment and consider their parenting role as a part of their recovery process help to reduce the effects of parental substance use disorders on their children. Services for children that address their medical and developmental needs and experiences of trauma and reestablish trusting bonds with their families are critical.

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    • Working with Adolescents: Practice Tips and Resource Guide
      Working with Adolescents: Practice Tips and Resource Guide(PDF 1.8 MB)

      National Center on Substance Abuse and Child Welfare, 2021

      This technical assistance tool provides information for child welfare, substance use treatment providers, healthcare, and other community agencies serving adolescents at risk of misusing substances. The guide examines adolescence as a unique stage of development—one that requires professionals to take a tailored and collaborative approach. It also provides a comprehensive array of services, terminology, policy considerations, and practice strategies to support those working with adolescents and young adults through a family-centered lens.

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1 Lipari, R.N. and Van Horn, S.L. (August 24, 2017). Children living with parents who have a substance use disorder. The CBHSQ Report. Center for Behavioral Health Statistics and Quality, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, Rockville, MD.