The 130th Annual Meeting of APHA

4090.0: Tuesday, November 12, 2002 - Board 3

Abstract #44120

Improving Services to Children of Substance Using Parents

Marla Oros, MS, RN1, Virginia Keane, MD`1, and Edward Pecukonis, MSW, PhD2. (1) School of Nursing, University of Maryland, 655 West Lombard street, Suite 404, Baltimore, MD 21201, 410-706-0141,, (2) School of Social Work, University of Maryland, 525 West Redwood Street, Baltimore, MD 21201

Children whose parents have substance use disorders are at risk for a variety of health and developmental problems. At birth, they are at risk for withdrawal syndromes and acute toxicity. As they age, they are at risk for delayed preventive health care. Some have altered neurological status as a result of intrauterine injury. They may live in a home environment that lacks the nurturing and stimulation that normal child development requires. Delay in expressive and receptive language skills and personal social skills are common. They are more likely than age matched peers from non-substance using homes to enter school without the preschool skills that promote social adjustments and learning. As they grow up, they may be forced to take on more adult or parental roles than appropriate for their chronological age, often being forced to parent a younger sibling or their addicted parent. Thy are at a higher risk for depression and other mental health problems. Finally, through genetic and environmental mechanism, they are also at risk for substance use. Each of these risks may be amenable to intervention if identified in a timely fashion.

This project looked at identifying children of substance using parents at various ages (prenatal, delivery, infancy, toddler, preschool, elementary, school age, early adolescence and late adolescence) to order to identify developmental and mental health risks, and whether or not the appropriate referral was made. Evaluation included the number of children identified, number referred, and the number receiving services, as well as satisfaction with identification and intervention efforts.

Learning Objectives:

  • Objectives