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 Concern: Parents with substance abuse and mental health problems have low rates of initial engagement in treatment. Promising practices: Motivational Interviewing
Parents Concern: Parents drop out of treatment or relapse, lose hope of overcoming obstacles to getting children back. Promising practices: Parent mentors for support and encouragement
Parents 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. Promising practices: Family Treatment, or Dependency Drug Courts
Parents Concern: Parents completing treatment programs often return to the same living arrangements and same neighborhoods Promising practice: Transitional Housing
Parents 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. Promising practice: Education and Job Training Programs, partnerships with business sector to hire and support parents
Parents Concern: The problems and stresses associated with reunification may overwhelm a parent’s ability to cope. Promising practice: Intensive Support (ex: Respite Care) for reunified families for at least one year.
Children Concern: Substance abuse and mental health problems interfere with emotionally sensitive responsive care-giving. Promising practice: Parenting Programs and visitation that promote attachment.
Children 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
Children 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. Promising practice: Parenting Programs that teach how to reduce such behaviors
Children Concern: Neglected children’s reduced ability to calm themselves when experiencing negative emotional states mimics the difficulties traumatized children experience with affect regulation. Promising practice: Trauma Treatment Techniques for Children
Children Concern: Hopeless/ helpless attitudes of youth that can become self-fulfilling. Promising practice: Resiliency Based Youth Programs
Community/Professional 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. Promising practice: Clear protocol, shared with community, for when child welfare is best approach, and when voluntary community based services are best.
Community/Professional Concern: Limited funding for early intervention and prevention leads to over-reliance on child welfare. Promising practice: Develop funding for family support programs that engage vulnerable families in a supportive, non-stigmatizing setting.
Community / Professional Concern: Families have many needs, many providers, many mandates and ‘dueling case plans….’ Promising practice: Develop teams around and with families to coordinate services and plans.
Community/Professional Concern: Working with such families can be exhausting and ‘burn out’ even the most idealistic helpers. Promising practice: Build teams, so that helpers from different agencies or faith/community groups can take the lead at different times.