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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Daily Practice: Services to Children

Daily practice in services to children should be addressed by the collaborative as treating the parents alone ignores the effects of substance abuse on the children. Substance abuse services provided to families in the child welfare system should be provided in a family systems approach. When residential care is warranted, keeping parents and their children together whenever appropriate should be a priority. If the cycle cannot be interrupted in a family where caretakers are substance abusing or addicted, there is the risk that without effective intervention a new generation may repeat the same pattern in which they were raised. Advocates for children have a role in ensuring that the special needs of children of substance abusers are addressed in prevention and intervention programs. Agency attorneys can act as a liaison between the agency, community and media to advocate for improved services to increase family recovery and child protection.

Substance Exposed Infants

To fully address substance exposed infant issues, they must be handled in an intensely collaborative setting, since no single agency has the resources, the information base, or the lead role to address the full range of needs of all substance-exposed or substance-affected newborns and their families.

Children and Youth

  • Mental Health Disorders in School Age Children
    This Webinar examines the prevalence of psychiatric disorders among school-age children in the child welfare system. The presentation will explore contributing factors to mental health issues in this population by examining the biological changes in the developing brain induced by prenatal substance exposure and the interplay with environmental factors.
  • Child Well Being Assessment Instrument (PDF 79 KB)
    Minnesota Social Services Information System (SSIS), Version 3.8 0
    The Child Well Being Tool is used to assess the presenting strengths and needs of an individual child. This assessment tool is used to systematically identify critical child needs and help plan effective service interventions.
  • Children of Substance Abusers: COSA Resource List (PDF 303 KB)
    The purpose of this Resource List is to develop an understanding of the landscape and identify more concretely what resources can be considered in addressing the children of parents who enter treatment programs.
  • The Child Welfare Trauma Training Toolkit
    Designed to teach basic knowledge, skills, and values about working with children who are in the child welfare system and who have experienced traumatic stress. It also teaches how to use this knowledge to support children's safety, permanency, and well-being through case analysis and corresponding interventions tailored for them and their biological and resource families.
  • Children's Program Toolkit
    Helps parents in treatment understand the needs of their children. It is a valuable tool for parents and for substance abuse treatment providers who conduct support groups for children.
  • Substance Use and Need for Treatment Among Youths Who Have Been in Foster Care, 2005
    Looks at the need for substance abuse treatment among youths aged 12 to 17 who have been in foster care. It compares youth who have been in foster care to those who have not been in foster care in regard to their use of alcohol and illicit drugs in the past year and their need for treatment.
  • Time to Act
    Website developed by the Partnership for a Drug Free America, brings to life scientific knowledge for parents who suspect or know something is wrong but don't know where to turn or what to do.
  • A Parent’s Guide to the Teen Brain
    Through the use of video, interactive segments, scenario-based role-playing experiences, and practical advice from experts, A Parent’s Guide to the Teen Brain explores the science behind teenage brain development and how it shapes normal teenage attitude and behavior.
  • NYC Partners for Families
    Website that pulls together information for helping parents and children involved in both child welfare and drug treatment. Although developed to serve families in New York, the website provides information on teens, clinical issues for children and parent/child visits.

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