A new report from the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation (ASPE) presents estimates of the number and percentage of children whose parents engage in problematic substance use. Estimates are also provided for each state. The results can support policy, programmatic, and budgetary decision making as leaders seek to provide solutions to the current overdose crisis. For example, as states implement the Title IV-E Foster Care Prevention Services Program, these estimates can inform the scope of behavioral health services for children that could be considered “candidates” for foster care. Key findings include:

  • In an average year from 2015–2019, more than 21 million children lived with a parent who misused substances, and more than 2 million lived with a parent who had a substance use disorder (SUD).
  • Living with a parent who had a SUD varied by child age, race, ethnicity, and urbanicity.
  • Children younger than 12 had a higher likelihood of living with parents with SUD than children 12 and older.
  • States varied in the number and percentage of children living with parents who had a SUD. States ranged from less than one percent of children (Nebraska) to nearly five percent (Maine).