It has long been known that substance abuse and child abuse tend to go hand in hand. Parents trapped in a cycle of drug or alcohol abuse often make poor parenting choices – sometimes as a result of the substance they ingested, sometimes because of a lack of that very substance they’re addicted to, and sometimes simply because money spent on drugs and booze means less money for food, clothes and other things children need.
So what can be done to alleviate this problem in Michigan?
Starting this week, the Michigan Children’s Trust Fund will hold the first in a series of panels aimed at highlighting how substance disorders often lead to the abuse and neglect of children. The panel will look at the different practices used by professionals across Michigan to address this issue, with a particular focus on what practices are more successful in their outcomes. They also plan to discover where there may be gaps in the services provided in different regions.
Substance abuse can have devastating effects on parents and children
According to Michele Corey, Michigan’s Children Vice President for Programs at MCTF, the effects of substance abuse on families are well documented. “We know that many families are investigated for child abuse or neglect due to the effects of substance misuse, resulting in a variety of interventions, including removing children and youth from their families. We also know that early experiences of child abuse and neglect increases one’s risk of developing a substance use disorder later in life.”
The long and short term effects can alter lives permanently
A report released by the American Academy of Pediatrics shows that approximately 8.7 million children in the U.S. have a parent that suffers from some type of addiction. This in turn increases the risk that those children will end up in foster care because of abuse and neglect, which has lasting emotional and psychological implications for those children. But it also increases the chances that those children will suffer both mental and physical health issues, which can impact their lives throughout.
The goal is to help CPS and other agencies be more effective at solutions
The hope, according to MCTF, is that these panel discussions and the information they identify, will be able to help CPS in future. By identifying gaps in services provided in different parts of the state, and also identifying which services are more successful in addressing substance abuse issues, MCTF is hoping they will be able to provide both the state’s legislature and MDHHS with recommendations and practical information that can be used to solve this problem in future. We can only hope they meet their goal, for the sake of families all over Michigan.