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2000 Jordan Institute
for Families

Vol. 4, No. 4
September 1999

Practice Implications: Recognizing and Dealing with Substance Abuse

  • Know the symptoms of drug and alcohol use. When one or more of these behaviors shows up in someone who has previously not exhibited them, it's likely drugs are involved.

  • Don't jump to the gun. Make sure reports of substance abuse are reliable or rely on your own observation. Substance use is hard to identify with certainty; its symptoms may be identical to those caused by other factors.

  • Stay focused. In CPS investigations, the well-being of the child is the primary concern, not the presence of drug abuse.

  • Guard against personal bias. Although substance abuse is a factor in many child welfare cases, the majority of people who use or abuse substances do not abuse or neglect children.

1999 Jordan Institute for Families