National Alliance For Drug Endangered Children

Help. Hope. Support.

Donate Today

Find Out How You Can Help

Parental Substance Use in Texas CPS Cases and Opportunities to Keep Families Together

Murphy, Kate – 2019

This report explores how often children are entering the Texas child welfare system for reasons related to parental substance abuse, policy opportunities to safety reduce entries into care, and areas where judges and attorneys can better support parents with substance use treatment needs in the early stags of a Child Protective Services (CPS) case. Findings indicate: Texas is a “low-removal State,” removing a smaller percentage of children from their families compared to the national average; the rate of removals in Texas is increasing; parental substance use is a contributing factor in most removals; nearly all removals that involved parental substance use as a contributing factor are related to neglectful supervision rather than abuse; most removals that involve parental substance use are for children under age six; limited access to substance use treatment for parents makes it difficult to keep families together; parental substance use alone is rarely the sole reason children enter foster care; in some communities, stakeholders report that parents’ use of illegal substances appears to be treated as abuse or neglect even though it may not endanger a child; and appointing an attorney to parents earlier in CPS cases may help keep more families safely together. Policy recommendations are discussed and include removing reference to substance use from the definition of abuse, seeking a “Plan of Safe Care” grant, removing “born addicted” from Texas Statute, using funding under the Family First Prevention Services Act to provide substance use treatment, and ensuring parent shave access to effective legal representation. Opportunities for improvement in legal settings are also discussed. 43 references.