Mental Health Services for Children of Substance Abusing Parents

Voices from the Community

Published In: Community Mental Health Journal, v. 48, no. 1, Feb. 2012, p. 22-28

Posted on RAND.org on February 01, 2012

by Laila F M Contractor, Karen Celedonia, Mario Cruz, Antoine Douaihy, Jane N. Kogan, Robert Marin, Bradley D. Stein

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This qualitative study explores how to improve services for children of parents with Substance Use Disorders (SUD) with unmet mental health needs. Focus groups were conducted with parents and caregivers to identify perceived barriers to services, including: (1) attitudes and beliefs about mental health care, (2) inadequacies in mental health services, (3) children's ambivalence about treatment, and (4) parental disagreement and lack of involvement. Peer support, afterschool activities, and family counseling were identified as potential improvements. This information can serve as a foundation and guide to develop services for the underserved population of children and adolescents of substance abusing parents.

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