ERIC Number: ED426810
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1998-Sep
Reference Count: N/A
Foster Care: Agencies Face Challenges Securing Stable Homes for Children of Substance Abusers. Report to the Chairman, Committee on Finance, U.S. Senate.
General Accounting Office, Washington, DC. Health, Education, and Human Services Div.
This study examined the extent and characteristics of parental substance abuse among foster care cases, the difficulties agencies face in making timely permanency decisions for foster children with substance abusing parents, and initiatives that address reunifying families or achieving other permanency outcomes in a timely manner for foster children whose parents are substance abusers. Information sources included a survey of California and Illinois caseworkers for random samples of foster care cases, and case studies of foster care programs in California, Illinois, and Louisiana. The findings indicate that two-thirds of foster children in California and Illinois had at least one parent who abused drugs or alcohol, and most had been doing so for at least 5 years. Substance abusers often abandoned or neglected their children because their primary focus was obtaining and using drugs or alcohol, placed their children at risk when they engaged in criminal activity to support their habit, and had periods of relapse during addiction recovery. Foster care agencies faced difficulties in helping parents enter treatment programs, in monitoring parents' progress in treatment, and in trying to achieve adoption or guardianship after family reunification efforts failed. To accommodate children's need for timely permanency decisions, some locations launched collaborations involving drug treatment providers, the courts, and other organizations to help parent obtain treatment and to monitor their progress. Other initiatives involved helping foster care agencies quickly achieve other permanency outcomes. In addition, some programs encouraged relatives of children in foster care to adopt or become legal guardians. (KB)
Descriptors: Adoption, Child Welfare, Federal Legislation, Foster Care, Foster Children, Parent Child Relationship, Parent Responsibility, Parents, Substance Abuse
U.S. General Accounting Office, P.O. Box 37050, Washington, DC 20013.
Publication Type: Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: General Accounting Office, Washington, DC. Health, Education, and Human Services Div.