A Rapid Evidence Assessment of Best Practice Literature on the Care of Infants With Prenatal Substance Exposure in Foster Care.
Marcellus, Lenora. Shaw, Lindsay. MacKinnon, Karen. Gordon, Carol.
University of Victoria (B.C.)
Published: June 2017
This scoping review sought to locate and describe literature that addressed the characteristics of interventions and programs that support the health and development of infants with prenatal substance exposure in foster care, foster care providers, and birth families. The review considered sources that included foster care situations with infants who were less than 12 months of age. For the purposes of this review substances included tobacco, alcohol, marijuana, crystal methamphetamine, cocaine, heroin, illicitly used prescription opioids, and solvents if used for the purpose of intoxication. A total of 63 sources published in English were included in this review. Categorization of the focus of each source resulted in identification of four core themes: infant mental health promotion for infants in care; child welfare program elements; identification of infants and families at risk of requiring foster care; and outcomes for infants in care and their families. The review found 13 sources were related to six specific established programs: the Safe Babies Program in British Columbia, the Vulnerable Infants Program in Rhode Island, the US crisis nursery program, the US CASA program, the US Safe Babies Court Team program, and the Collaborative Mental Health Program in Calgary, Alberta. Key program elements noted across these sources included: coordinated and cross-sectoral approach to service delivery, individualized to the needs of each community and their population, intensive and long-term commitment to service delivery for birth families to optimize the potential for family preservation, and strengths based approaches to service delivery. A key thread across most sources was the importance of taking a developmental perspective to how interventions, practices, services, and programs are oriented. Recommendations are made for practice and research. 2 tables and 108 references. (Author abstract modified)
prenatal drug exposure; therapeutic intervention; infants; substance abusing parents; early intervention programs; foster children; child welfare services; mental health services; interagency collaboration; community based services; family preservation