Environmental Risk Factors and Custody Status in Children of Substance Abusers.
Kyzer, Angela. Conners-Burrow, Nicola A. McKelvey, Lorraine.
Published: January 2014
Children and Youth Services Review
Vol. 36 , p. 150-154
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Children of substance abusers face myriad risks, including child maltreatment, residential instability, and exposure to violence, crime, and disorganization in their homes and neighborhoods. Using data from a substance abuse treatment program for women and their children, this study sought to examine the changes in children's living situations before and after their mother's treatment experience. First, we examined pre- and post-treatment changes in the legal and physical custody status of children, as well as neighborhood and household factors that can impact children's physical or emotional health and safety. Mothers who had at least one child living with them reported a significant decrease in problems in the home and neighborhood environments. Independent observations by research assistants also indicated few visible problems with the appropriateness of the post-treatment home and neighborhood environments for children. Second, we examined whether treatment completion predicted healthier living situations for children. Results indicated that treatment graduates were 2.5 times more likely to have at least one child living with them after treatment. In addition, non-graduates experienced more unwanted moves compared to graduates. These findings suggest that the homes and neighborhoods families return to post-treatment are, on the whole, relatively safe. (Author abstract)
Substance abuse; Environmental influences; Home environment; Neighborhoods; Socioeconomic influences; Child custody