Remaining home: Well-being outcomes and co-occurring parental substance use following a maltreatment investigation in middle childhood

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By bhadmin February 2, 2021

Purpose: The purpose of the study is to understand differences in child well-being related to parental substance use among children ages 6–12 who were investigated for maltreatment but not removed from their homes. Children with a substance-using parent in the home are compared to those without a substance-using parent in the home. Methods: Longitudinal data from waves 1 and 3 of the second National Study of Child and Adolescent Well-Being (NSCAW II) are used. NSCAW II is a national sample of families with children and youth aged birth to 17.5 investigated by child protective services (CPS). A subset of the data (analyzed with domain analysis methods) is used for this study (n = 575). Eight well-being outcomes from four domains (cognitive development, physical health, psychological/behavioral development and social/emotional competence) are analyzed. Findings: We hypothesized that (among children investigated for maltreatment and not removed from home) children whose parents used substances would exhibit lower mean levels of well-being at thirty-six months follow-up compared to those whose parents did not use. Unexpectedly, we found no significant differences in well-being levels between children with parents in the home using substances and those without. Conclusions: Children with substance-using parents may be able to remain at home over an extended period after investigation, while maintaining well-being levels similar to children at home with parents not using substances. If an effective safety plan can be put in place, this option may provide a path to maintaining safety, permanency and well-being for such children without placement in out-of-home care. 

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