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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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1 Lipari, R.N. and Van Horn, S.L. (2017, August 24). 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.

Contact Us

The National Center on Substance Abuse and Child Welfare offers free technical assistance to a various of systems on making policy and practice changes to improve outcomes for families affected by substance use disorders and involvement with child welfare services. To learn more about technical assistance services or if you have a question please email NCSACW at ncsacw@cffutures.org or call toll-free at 1–866–493–2758.

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