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Home > Advocacy > CWLA 2005 Children's Legislative Agenda > Child Protection/Alcohol and Drug Partnership Act

 
 

CWLA 2005 Children's Legislative Agenda

Child Protection/Alcohol and Drug Partnership Act

Action

  • Support the Child Protection/Alcohol and Drug Partnership Act.

History

The Child Protection/Alcohol and Drug Partnership Act was sponsored in the 108th Congress by a bipartisan group in the U.S. Senate, including Senators Olympia Snowe (R-ME), John D. Rockefeller (D-WV), Mike DeWine (R-OH), and Susan Collins (R-ME). In the past, a companion bill has been introduced in the House of Representatives. The legislation will be reintroduced in the 109th Congress.

The bill would provide grants over five years to state child welfare and substance abuse agencies that agree to take steps together to develop and increase treatment services, establish appropriate screening and assessment tools, or improve strategies to engage and retain parents in treatment and provide aftercare support. The activities must be directed to families with substance abuse problems who come to the attention of the child welfare system.

State child welfare and alcohol and drug agencies would have flexibility to decide how best to use these funds to enhance treatment. They could use them to develop or expand comprehensive, individualized alcohol and drug abuse prevention and treatment services that include
  • prevention and early intervention services for children that address their mental, emotional, and developmental needs;

  • prevention and early intervention services for parents at risk for substance abuse;

  • comprehensive home-based, outpatient, and residential treatment options;

  • aftercare support for families in recovery that promotes child safety and family stability; and

  • services and supports that promote parent-child interaction and focus on children and other family members.
Agencies could also use the funds to increase their capacity to meet these families' needs by jointly cross-training child welfare and substance abuse treatment staff, improving data to track progress in these families, and promoting evaluation. The legislation holds states accountable for demonstrating the progress they make with these funds.
Through child waiver requests, Delaware, Illinois, Maryland, and New Hampshire are targeting substance abuse. In Delaware's waiver project, where counselors worked with child protective services to identify problems and arrange services, the length of stay for children in foster care was reduced by 31%. Illinois, Maryland, and New Hampshire are still conducting their programs. 1

In the 1980s, the use of crack cocaine severely affected child welfare systems, particularly foster care caseloads. In recent years, certain areas of the country, especially rural areas, have been faced with the spread of methamphetamines, also know as meth, speed, and crank. Twenty-four major U.S. cities have listed methamphetamines as widely or readily available. 2

The consequences of methamphetamine growth are multiplied by the fact that the drug can be manufactured in home kitchens and garages with common drugs or readily available chemicals. When discovered by law enforcement, these locations are considered toxic sites that can have an impact on surrounding neighbors and environments. The spread of methamphetamine factories started mainly in the Midwest and West, but they are now proliferating in other areas of the country. 3

Key Facts

  • Alcohol and other drug (AOD) problems devastate the lives of hundreds of thousands of American children and their families each year. A major factor in child abuse and neglect, substance abuse is associated with the placement of at least half of the children in the custody of child welfare. 4

  • Substance abuse is a treatable public health problem with cost-effective solutions. Good assessment, early intervention, and comprehensive treatment are key to determining when and if a child can safely stay at home or be reunited with his or her family. 5

  • Substance abuse is a factor in one- to two-thirds of cases of children with substantiated reports of abuse and neglect, and in two-thirds of cases of children in foster care. 6

  • Women who stay in comprehensive substance abuse treatment longer than three months are more likely to remain alcohol and drug free (68%) than are those who leave treatment within the first three months (48%). 7

  • Seventy-five percent of those women receiving comprehensive substance abuse treatment have physical custody of one or more children six months after treatment discharge. 8

  • Of the more than $24 billion states spend to address different aspects of substance abuse, an estimated $5.3 billion (slightly more than 20%) goes to child welfare costs related to substance abuse. 9

Sources

  1. U.S. House of Representatives, Committee on Ways and Means. (2004). Summary of Approved State Child Welfare Demonstrations, Table 11-20. In 2004 Green Book. Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office.
  2. U.S. Office of National Drug Control Policy. (2002). Pulse Check: Trends in Drug Abuse November 2002. Retrieved online, January 6, 2005. Washington, DC: Author.
  3. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). (2004). Methamphetamine Abuse in the United States. Retrieved online, January 27, 2005. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
  4. Child Welfare League of America. (1997). Alcohol and Other Drug Survey of State Child Welfare Agencies. Available online. Washington, DC: Author.
  5. Physician Leadership on National Drug Policy. (March 1998). Major new study finds drug treatment as good as treatments for diabetes, asthma, etc., and better and cheaper than prison. (Press release of a study sponsored by Physician Leadership on National Drug Policy). Retrieved online, January 6, 2005. Providence, RI: Author.
    Finigan, M. (1996). Societal Outcomes and Cost Savings of Drug and Alcohol Treatment in the State of Oregon. Retrieved online, January 6, 2005. Salem: Office of Alcohol and Drug Abuse Programs, Oregon Department of Human Resources, and Governor's Council on Alcohol and Drug Abuse Program.
  6. U.S. House of Representatives, Committee on Ways and Means. (2004). Substance Abuse, Section 11. In 2004 Green Book. Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office.
  7. Center for Substance Abuse Treatment. (2001). Benefits of residential substance abuse treatment for pregnant and parenting women: Highlights from a study of 50 Center for Substance Abuse Treatment demonstration programs. Retrieved online, January 6, 2005. Rockville, MD: SAMHSA.
  8. Ibid.
  9. National Clearinghouse on Child Abuse and Neglect Information Center. (2001). Factsheet. National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University. Online.

CWLA Contact

John Sciamanna
202/639-4919


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