Blending Perspectives and Building Common Ground. Discussion


Figures regarding the extent to which abusive and neglectful families also have substance abuse problems, and vice versa, are complex and confusing.  While specific studies vary considerably for methodological and other reasons, the bottom line is that a very significant portion of the child welfare caseload involves families with substance abuse disorders.  But these are far from the only problems these families face.  In addition, we must recognize that while substance abuse impairs parental functioning and has negative impacts on children, most substance abusing parents do not engage in behaviors that rise to the child protective services definitions of abuse or neglect.  In addition, it is clear that alcohol as well as illicit drugs may place children at risk, and that parental substance abuse is a problem for children of all ages.