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SUD and Child Welfare


Treatment Communities of America (TCA) is a non-profit association comprised of community based substance abuse treatment providers throughout the United States and Canada. Incorporated in 1977, our mission is to ensure access to a full continuum of care for individuals and families affected by a Substance Use Disorder (SUD) through the following:

  • Continuous improvement of the efficacy and efficiency of SUD treatment through research, partnership development, and resource acquisition.
  • Education of the public about the need for and benefits of comprehensive SUD services.
  • Advocacy to policymakers, public and private entities and other key stakeholders to ensure policies, regulations and legislation are in alignment with our mission.

Substance Use Disorder Services and Child Welfare

It is estimated that between 60%-80% of families involved with child protective services in the country have a SUD. While the federal entities responsible for SUD and child welfare, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) and the Administration for Children and Families (ACF), have made significant efforts to address services for this population, there are still significant barriers in both systems that deter the ability for families to access treatment. This includes limitations in the number and age of children who can participate in treatment with their parents, as well as funding formulas that do not consider the special needs of children in their design. In order for both systems to maximize funding, resources and outcomes for families affected by SUDs, TCA recommends the following:

  • ACF and SAMHSA identify mechanisms to blend funding to ensure the provision of integrated child welfare and treatment services that encompass the entire family.
  • ACF and SAMSHA support the development of program models that allow for all children to enroll in treatment with their parents, with no limitations on age or number of children in the family, inclusive of models that incorporate housing and treatment.
  • ACF and SAMSHA support funding models that are based on the unique needs of each child and parent participating in services versus formulas that assume a “one-size fits all” philosophy.
  • ACF and SAMHSA work collaboratively to allow family SUD treatment models to be certified as foster care providers, including eligibility for Title IV-E funding for children in their care.
  • SAMSHA incorporates child welfare related services as a mandatory component of SUD treatment for all participants who have children that are at risk of entering in or are involved with the child protective services system.
  • ACF and SAMSHA mandate partnerships between local SUD and child welfare providers in any new RFAs that provide services for consumers with children.
  • ACF and SAMSHA work collaboratively to ensure that the issues of families with SUDs are taken into consideration in any efforts for Child Welfare Finance Reform.