Challenges in Providing Substance Use Disorder Treatment to Child Welfare Clients in Rural Communities


This brief summarizes the challenges involved in serving rural child welfare-involved families with substance use issues. We highlight differences between rural and non-rural areas and discuss strategies that could help alleviate difficulties in addressing child welfare cases in rural communities. Key findings include:

  • Rural communities often lack the resources to provide services to parents struggling with substance use issues. Rural economics, transportation and technological limitations exacerbate these challenges.
  • Child welfare and substance use treatment providers face particular challenges to collaboration with one another in rural communities. Stigma, lack of anonymity and misinformation compound these issues.
  • Strategies specifically tailored to rural communities are needed to improve service access, develop workforce capacity, and improve collaboration.

In a future brief we will describe promising models for rural communities that could address the needs of parents who use substances and are involved with the child welfare system.


"ChallengesIssueBrief.pdf" (pdf, 395.8Kb)

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