Social welfare is described as a nations system of program and assistance services that are designed to help the people with social, educational, economic and health challenges. Social workers have the responsibility to ensure that they identify the diversified empowerment strategies, human rights issues, social and economic injustices, policy practices and professional and ethical values influencing the welfare of the people in the society. This paper will review the article The Impact of Substance Abuse on the Child Welfare System authored by Florida Alcohol & Drug Abuse Association (FADAA) and analyze the extent of the issue, impact on social welfare policy and the relationship to social work practice.
The article examines the impact of substance abuse on the child and welfare system in Florida and its environment. FADAA (2011, p. 2) explains that the rate of parental drug abuse has recently increased in Florida by 9% between 2009 and 2011. Further, the report cites that child protective investigations reports alleging substance abuse has also increased by 19% from 2009 to 2011. According to this article, children whose parents have substance abuse are exposed to high risks of having a range of developmental, behavioral and emotional challenges. Parental drug abuse affects the children and also the families involved in child welfare system. The statistical research indicates that over 8.3 million children in the United States under the age of 18 years are exposed to parental drug abuse. This figure according to FADDAs findings represents almost 12% of the total childrens population in the United States. Some of other implications of parental drug abuse are related to prenatal drug exposure such as miscarriage, premature birth, low birth weight, and also cognitive and behavioral challenges (FADAA, p. 2). Childrens Bureau (2014, p. 2) also notes that parental drug abuse may expose the children to diversified risk factors related to child maltreatment and welfare involvement. As highlighted in the report by Children Bureau, the impacts of parental drug abuse may affect the parenting method. Apart from the above implications explained by the FADAA, Childrens Bureau further notes that parental drug abuse may lead to disruptions in the healthy parent-child attachment. Also, it may also result in incarceration which may lead to inappropriate child supervision.
According to FADAA (2011), increasing investments in drug treatment can help reduce the increased cost of child welfare services in Florida and the United States as a whole. The research further shows that the services provided to parents involved in substance abuse have shown a significant positive outcome. Further, drug treatment program services offered to children exposed to parental substance abuse have also shown a remarkable and impeccable outcome through parents retention in care (FADAA, 2011). The retention and completion of treatment are among the most significant factors used to predict the reunification with children for substance-abusing parents. Alcohol and other substance abuse related activities affect thousands of American children and their families every year. However, as research shows, families involved in the child welfare are exposed to more economic risks as they often face additional challenges with the addiction issue that requires access to substance abuse treatment.
Every state in the United States has its policies regarding the child welfare system; however, the common law that binds all the states is the Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (CAPTA) that requires the states to design policies and procedures to deal with the challenges regarding the newborns exposed to substance abuse. Further, the act requires the involved state to develop safety measures to protect the affected infants. Although the large percentage of parents in need of the substance abuse treatment existing, very limited percentage of them receives the treatment. Again, some of the parents do not go through with the program to its completion. As noted in the report, the rising demand for treatment of substance abuse parents combined with the limited financial resources has exposed the child welfare system to high stress (FADAA, 2011). However, as FADAA report notes, meeting such challenges may require dialogue and collaboration between the child welfare system and professionals and caregivers so as to come up with diversified policies, programs, and practices that can suit the changing circumstances.
Research has further shown that substance abuse treatment has revealed positive results on the child welfare services and minimizes the likelihood of children becoming involved in drug addiction themselves (FADAA, 2011). As Childrens Bureau (2014) shows, social welfare workers need to develop different strategies to help the victims meet their needs at the same time promote safety, permanency, and well-being of the victims children. As a social worker, one needs to be a critical thinker; Kirst-Ashman (2015) explains about the AAA model which requires the user to ask questions, assess the facts established and assert a concluding opinion. The model provides the user with the critical thinking techniques in which the user can approach issues and challenges critically. As FADAA explains in the report, victims of substance abuse need care and protection; this can be provided well by the welfare service system.
In conclusion, as new strategies continue to be designed and implemented, the social workers continue to learn and acquire new methodologies and more promising approaches to help address the complex needs related to the social welfare of the society. However, the child welfare system program and service providers need to create a collaborative and coordinated platform to both children and their parents. Further, there is need to create a link between other stakeholders such as courts, policymakers, and other systems involved to improve the collective ability to enable sharing of information for the attainment of better and improved outcomes for the victims and their families.
Childrens Bureau (2014). Parental Substance Use ad the Child Welfare System. Child Welfare Information Gateway. U.S Department of Health and Human Services. Retrieved from https://www.childwelfare.gov/pubPDFs/parentalsubabuse.pdf
FADAA (2011). The Impact of Substance Abuse on the Child Welfare System. Florida Alcohol & Drug Abuse Association. Retrieved from file:///C:/Users/Hp/Documents/My%20Digital%20Editions/tmp_30042-ChildWelfare(3)1393848943%20(1).pdf
Kirst-Ashman, K. K. (2015). Empowerment Series: Introduction to Social Work & Social Welfare: Critical Thinking Perspectives. Nelson Education.
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