Effective Strategies for Courtroom Advocacy on Drug Use and Parenting by Dr. Ron Abrahams and Nancy Rosenbloom


Parent defenders know the challenges of working with pregnant and parenting women who are involved with the child welfare system because of allegations that they use drugs. The child welfare system can seem stacked against these mothers, often removing their babies and imposing expectations and timeframes that can be difficult to meet before reunification can occur. This article recommends a harm reduction approach to advocating for parents accused of child neglect or abuse related to drug or alcohol use. Parent advocates can use this information to educate judges and child welfare agency professionals about harm reduction strategies, and how they can keep families together while promoting good health care and minimizing court and child welfare agency involvement in families' lives.


The Families in Recovery Program

Since its inception in Canada 15 years ago, more than 1,500 women, their babies and families have benefited from the Families in Recovery (FIR) rooming-in program founded by Dr. Abrahams. It is the first combined care maternity unit in North America. The program supports women and their newborns to stabilize and withdraw from substances with the goal of keeping mothers and babies together to improve their health. The fundamental underpinning of FIR is that it is an "apprehension free space" where authorities do not remove children from their parents, and where the staff encourage breastfeeding for mother and baby to bond while supports are put into place for their discharge together from the hospital where they gave birth back into the community. This model has been shown to be cost effective, along with improving health outcomes for both children and mothers. The lessons learned from this work toward ensuring a "healthy sustainable community" provide the basis for this article.

Read the full article<https://www.americanbar.org/groups/public_interest/child_law/resources/child_law_practiceonline/january---december-2019/effective-strategies-for-courtroom-advocacy-on-drug-use-and-pare/>




Published in Parents' Attorneys

GRAND Resource: Help for Grandfamilies impacted by Opioids and Other Substance Use. This resource from Generations United provides tips, practical information and a list of additional resources covering five topic areas - Practicing Self-Care; Addressing Childhood Trauma; Preventing Harmful Drug Use by Children; Engaging with Birth Parents; and Talking with a Child about their Birth Parent. Learn more.

Published in Children's Justice Act
Tuesday, 26 February 2019 15:42

States Eye Tech Tools In Opioid Fight

CivSource - February 19, 2019

States are looking for innovative ways to manage the opioid crisis. From data sharing to outreach programs, all options are on the table. Opioid overdoses were tied to about 50,000 U.S. deaths in 2017 and many newly elected governors put the issue at the center of their campaigns. Oracle has recently launched a new tool that is designed to help local officials share information about treatment resources with those who are in need.


Published in Children's Justice Act

 National Judicial Opioid Task Force Launches Online Resource Center

Chattanoogan - January 29, 2019

The National Judicial Opioid Task Force, co-chaired by Tennessee Administrative Office of the Courts Director Deborah Taylor Tate, recently launched a resource center to address the ongoing opioid epidemic featuring dozens of facts sheets, videos, and other resources for judges and the general public regarding the opioid crisis and substance abuse disorders including treatment and services; special populations, including children and veterans; and collaborative efforts and data sharing among law enforcement medical professionals and the judicial branch.




Published in Children's Justice Act

Opioids Exact Another Toll on Newborns: Smaller Heads

Health Day News - December 10, 2018

Infants born addicted to opioids may be more likely to have smaller heads that might hinder their development, new research suggests.


Wednesday, 10 October 2018 14:09




While parental substance abuse is not a new challenge for child welfare agencies, the current opioid epidemic is proving to have an immeasurable impact on foster care caseloads and child welfare budgets across the country.

Child with flower

A great deal of anecdotal information exists about the opioid epidemic and increasing foster care caseloads, but little or no data directly links the two. Here is what we do know:

  • In FY2015, there were nearly 428,000 children in foster care in the U.S., the highest number since 2008. In the same year, nearly 270,000 children entered care, representing the highest number of children entering care since 2008
  • The number of children under the age of 1 entering foster care is increasing and has become the highest percentage, by age group, of children entering foster care; from 39,697 in 2011 to 47,219 in 2015.
  • The number of children experiencing neonatal abstinence syndrome (NAS) is on the rise; from 3.4 per 1000 hospital births in 2009 to 5.8 per 1000 hospital births in 2012.
  • From 1999-2014, the incidence of parental alcohol or other drug use as a reason for removal more than doubled, from 15.8-31.8 percent.

Many resources and reports are available from this website: http://www.ncsl.org/research/human-services/substance-abuse-and-child-welfare-resources.aspx 

Published in Children's Justice Act

TO: The State Office, Agency or Organization Designated by the Governor to Apply for a Child Abuse and Neglect State Grant

SUBJECT: NEW LEGISLATION- Public Law 114-198, the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act of 2016

LEGAL AND RELATED: Title I of the Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (CAPTA), as amended by Public Law 114-198, the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act of 2016 (CARA). PURPOSE: To inform states of the enactment of CARA and provide basic information on the resulting changes in CAPTA for child abuse or neglect prevention and treatment programs.

BACKGROUND: The President signed CARA into law on July 22, 2016. CARA aims to address the problem of opioid addiction in the United States. The law deals with various aspects of substance use disorder, particularly opioid use disorder. For the purposes of this IM, CARA adds various requirements to CAPTA.

Click for the full information memorandum. 

Published in Children's Justice Act

The Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act (CARA)

Public Law 114-198 (Original Bills as Introduced in 114th Congress: S.524/H.R.953)

The Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act (CARA) establishes a comprehensive, coordinated, balanced strategy through enhanced grant programs that would expand prevention and education efforts while also promoting treatment and recovery.

Brief Summary of Provisions of CARA

  • Expand prevention and educational efforts—particularly aimed at teens, parents and other caretakers, and aging populations—to prevent the abuse of methamphetamines, opioids and heroin, and to promote treatment and recovery.
  • Expand the availability of naloxone to law enforcement agencies and other first responders to help in the reversal of overdoses to save lives.
  • Expand resources to identify and treat incarcerated individuals suffering from addiction disorders promptly by collaborating with criminal justice stakeholders and by providing evidence-based treatment.
  • Expand disposal sites for unwanted prescription medications to keep them out of the hands of our children and adolescents.
  • Launch an evidence-based opioid and heroin treatment and intervention program to expand best practices throughout the country.
  • Launch a medication-assisted treatment and intervention demonstration program.
  • Strengthen prescription drug monitoring programs to help states monitor and track prescription drug diversion and to help at-risk individuals access services.

Click to access Section-by-Section Summary of Provisions of CARA

Published in Children's Justice Act

Grandparents, Grandchildren, and Caregiving: The Impacts of America's Substance Use Crisis

American Society On Aging - October 08, 2018

The growing impact of the opioid crisis is becoming increasingly evident. In a recent sur­vey of programs across the United States that primarily serve grandparents and other rela­tives raising children (known as grandfamilies), nearly all reported serving families impacted by parental substance use.


Matching Service to Need: How Family Drug Courts Identify, Assess and Support Families to Achieve Recovery, Safety, and Permanency: A Practice Brief.
Children and Family Futures (Organization)
Sponsoring Organization: United States. Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention.


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