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 the Needs of Children of Parents with Substance Use or Mental Disorders


Module 6 provides child welfare workers with an in-depth understanding of the various ways in which children are impacted by their parents' substance use and/or mental disorders, including co-occurring disorders from prenatal exposure through childhood and adolescent development.

Learning Objectives

After completing Module 6, child welfare professionals will have an understanding of the following topics:

  • Impact of parental substance use on children
    • Prenatal
    • Postnatal
  • Impact of parental mental disorders on children
    • Prenatal
    • Postnatal
  • Children's personal substance use mental disorders (either related to or separate from parental issues)
    • Alcohol and drug exploration, use, abuse, dependence
    • Mental disorders
      • Special focus on acts of self-harm, including suicide
  • Screening and assessment of children
  • Treatment strategies, systems of care, trauma, youth support (peer to peer, children of substance abuser groups, Alanon, Alateen, etc.).
  • Referral resources