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Child custody while dealing with substance abuse
Posted in Addiction, Children, Laws, Motherhood, Parenting - 0 Comments

dealing with substance abuse

A 2009 report from the Institute of Education Sciences stated that parental substance abuse was a factor in 25 percent of child maltreatment investigations. This kind of abuse was also featured in 50 to 79 percent of child welfare cases, where a child was removed from a parent’s custody and handed over to foster care. Given this prevalence, it is important to be aware of what a child’s best interests are and how the law serves these needs.

A child’s best interests

According to the Child Welfare Information Gateway, the best interests of a child refers to, “the deliberation that courts undertake when deciding what type of services, actions, and orders will best serve a child as well as who is best suited to take care of a child.”

The American Bar Association’s Section of Family Law details that uncovering parental substance abuse or addiction will most likely result in an abuse and neglect case. After a parent tests positive for drugs, other factors that are taken into account when determining the next steps in childcare-related decisions include:

  • The overall nature of the substance abuse: This encompasses frequency, personal history and the type of drug being consumed
  • Child-specific circumstances: This can bring attention to whether the parent’s substance abuse has impacted the offspring’s life, from academic performance to interpersonal relationships
  • The parent-child relationship: If a parent sees the child on a regular basis while not on any substances, it can help his or her case. The parent’s odds become more favorable if the child is old enough and prefers spending time with that parent
  • Factors that affect parenting capacity: This can include the stability of the parent’s living situation, his or her employment history and the supportive resources available
  • Alternative options: If other significant behavioral health factors exist in the other parent, other care or custody options will also be considered

Completing treatment makes a motherly difference

One of the biggest hurdles to overcome for mothers with a substance use disorder is finishing treatment. The completion rate of rehabilitation programs is generally low among substance-abusing mothers within the child welfare system, with only 25 percent satisfying all of their treatment requirements.

For mothers who do not demonstrate an ability to resolve their substance-abuse, research from the University of Washington discovered that substance-abusing mothers who had a child removed from their care had a three times higher likelihood to experience a subsequent alcohol or drug-exposed birth. Overall, a mother’s abuse does not seem to end by itself after losing a child. The only viable solution is treatment.

In order to begin the process to regain custody after rehabilitation,a mother must prove that she has completed a licensed treatment program, is adhering to recovery and is currently sober.Sovereign Health of Arizona can help accomplish this goal and protect the health of both the parent and the child. If you or a mother in your life is in need of a recovery plan, contact us online or through our 24/7 helpline for information on how we can help.

Written by Lee Yates, Sovereign Health Group writer

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