Remaining home: Well-being outcomes and co-occurring parental substance use following a maltreatment investigation in middle childhood


Rebecca Orsi, Samantha M. Brown, Kelly E. Knight, Audrey M. Shillington


Children and Youth Services Review


Purpose The purpose of the study is to understand differences in child well-being related to parental substance use among children ages 6–12 who were investigated for maltreatment but not removed from their homes. Children with a substance-using parent in the home are compared to those without a substance-using parent in the home. Methods Longitudinal data from waves 1 and 3 of the second National Study of Child and Adolescent Well-Being (NSCAW II) are used. NSCAW II is a national sample of families with children and youth aged birth to 17.5 investigated by child protective services (CPS). A subset of the data (analyzed with domain analysis methods) is used for this study (n = 575). Eight well-being outcomes from four domains (cognitive development, physical health, psychological/behavioral development and social/emotional competence) are analyzed. Findings We hypothesized that (among children investigated for maltreatment and not removed from home) children whose parents used substances would exhibit lower mean levels of well-being at thirty-six months follow-up compared to those whose parents did not use. Unexpectedly, we found no significant differences in well-being levels between children with parents in the home using substances and those without. Conclusions Children with substance-using parents may be able to remain at home over an extended period after investigation, while maintaining well-being levels similar to children at home with parents not using substances. If an effective safety plan can be put in place, this option may provide a path to maintaining safety, permanency and well-being for such children without placement in out-of-home care.



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