Promising Practices in Chronic Neglect. Dee Wilson, MSW Northwest Institute for Children and Families, University of Washington June 18, 2008 Neglect: The Hidden Cost of Meth and Other Substance Abuse Deschutes County Summit. Parents.
Dee Wilson, MSW
Northwest Institute for Children and Families, University of Washington
June 18, 2008
Neglect: The Hidden Cost of Meth and Other Substance Abuse
Deschutes County Summit
Concern: Parents with substance abuse and mental health problems have low rates of initial engagement in treatment.
Promising practices: Motivational Interviewing
Concern: Parents drop out of treatment or relapse, lose hope of overcoming obstacles to getting children back.
Parent mentors for support and encouragement
Concern: Convincing decision makers to return children to their custody; progress in treatment is rarely smooth and without setbacks, and families usually have a variety of serious problems apart from substance abuse.
Family Treatment, or Dependency Drug Courts
Concern: Parents completing treatment programs often return to the same living arrangements and same neighborhoods
Concern: Parents in recovery with low levels of education are destined for lengthy welfare dependence or a struggle for survival in the low wage economy.
Education and Job Training Programs, partnerships with business sector to hire and support parents
Concern: The problems and stresses associated with reunification may overwhelm a parent’s ability to cope.
Intensive Support (ex: Respite Care) for reunified families for at least one year.
Concern: Substance abuse and mental health problems interfere with emotionally sensitive responsive care-giving.
Parenting Programs and visitation that promote attachment.
Concern: Chronic neglect and chronic maltreatment have a powerful cumulative effect on children’s cognitive development and social development and the capability to regulate emotions.
Promising practice: Therapeutic Child Development Programs
Concern: Chronically neglectful parenting often leads to children who engage in non-stop negative attention getting behavior with parents and to be oppositional with childcare staff and teachers as well.
Parenting Programs that teach how to reduce such behaviors
Concern: Neglected children’s reduced ability to calm themselves when experiencing negative emotional states mimics the difficulties traumatized children experience with affect regulation.
Trauma Treatment Techniques for Children
Concern: Hopeless/ helpless attitudes of youth that can become self-fulfilling.
Resiliency Based Youth Programs
Concern: “I’ve called and called. Why don’t they open this case?” Tensions between child welfare and community partners re: when to open a case.
Clear protocol, shared with community, for when child welfare is best approach, and when voluntary community based services are best.
Concern: Limited funding for early intervention and prevention leads to over-reliance on child welfare.
Develop funding for family support programs that engage vulnerable families in a supportive, non-stigmatizing setting.
Concern: Families have many needs, many providers, many mandates and ‘dueling case plans….’
Develop teams around and with families to coordinate services and plans.
Concern: Working with such families can be exhausting and ‘burn out’ even the most idealistic helpers.
Build teams, so that helpers from different agencies or faith/community groups can take the lead at different times.