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Nebraska’s response to substance abusing parents in child welfare: A review of cases that opened in 2009

Nebraska Court Improvement Project – 2011

Summarizes findings of a Nebraska study on families with substance use disorders who are involved in the child welfare and family judicial systems. Reports that over 50% of child welfare cases also involve substance abuse, and over 80% of children in these cases have been removed from the home at some point. Co-occurring problems among parents include mental health and domestic violence issues. Many parents face delays in starting treatment, and also get lower levels of treatment than they need. Entry into treatment is inconsistent, and many parents drop off the treatment trajectory. Parents often get tested for drugs without receiving treatment. Notes that in most out-of-home placement cases, both parents are substance users. Summarizes types of substance use (and related activity) identified in cases, noting that the most common is alcohol or drug use/drunk driving. Presents an overview of the legal progression of substance abuse cases. Summarizes findings on the timeliness of pre-treatment assessment and evaluation, and how successful parents are in substance abuse treatment. Also presents data on the types of treatment services received by parents.