Parental Substance Abuse and Child Welfare

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Parental Substance Abuse and Child Welfare
Temple University Harrisburg

Introduction
Parental substance abuse and the welfare of children have become a growing epidemic in society today. Thousands of families are facing struggles with addiction which can lead to the interruption of cognitive development and mental growth of their young children. It has been found that “more than 8.3 million children younger than 18 years (11.9%) lived with at least one parent who was dependent on or abused alcohol or an illicit drug during the past year”(Arria, Mericle, Meyers & Winter, 2012, p. 114). Many parents who struggle with substance abuse may not be able to care for their own lives, therefore, how do they care for the safety and well-being of their children? According to Ammerman, Kirisci, Blackson, & Dawes (1999), “abused and neglected children are at increased risk for depression, conduct disorder, academic underachievement, cognitive impairment, and interpersonal dysfunction” (p.1226). Many children have become victims of their parent’s substance abuse and are the vulnerable groups that are truly suffering for their parents’ mistakes. According to another study, children who are exposed to parental substance abuse are more likely to have poor emotional coping skills, lack of social interaction skills with peers, higher rates of various mental health diagnoses, and future substance abuse issues (Simmons, Havens, Whiting, Holz & Bada, 2009). As a society, how are we overlooking suffering children that need further attention and not just trying to mask the issue with a band aid? The problem is a lack of collaborative care for substance abusing parents which results in mental health problems for children. Unfortunately, parental substance abuse continues to increase resulting in many children being taken into custody and placed in foster care. The extent of the problem of parental substance abuse and the effects on children is growing rapidly in the...
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