Identifying the substance abuse treatment needs of caregivers involved with child welfare

Emmeline Chuang, Rebecca Wells, John Bellettiere, Theodore P. Cross

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Parental substance use significantly increases risk of child maltreatment, but is often under-identified by child protective services. This study examined how agency use of standardized substance use assessments and child welfare investigative caseworker education, experience, and caseload affected caseworkers' identification of parental substance abuse treatment needs. Data are from a national probability sample of permanent, primary caregivers involved with child protective services whose children initially remained at home and whose confidential responses on two validated instruments indicated harmful substance use or dependence. Investigative caseworkers reported use of a formal assessment in over two thirds of cases in which substance use was accurately identified. However, weighted logistic regression indicated that agency provision of standardized assessment instruments was not associated with caseworker identification of caregiver needs. Caseworkers were also less likely to identify substance abuse when their caseloads were high and when caregivers were fathers. Implications for agency practice are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)118-125
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Substance Abuse Treatment
Volume45
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 1 2013

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Keywords

  • Assessment
  • Caregivers
  • Child welfare
  • Investigation
  • Substance use

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Phychiatric Mental Health
  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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