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This was a relational study investigating the implications of a parents drug use on a young child’s life. A review of the literature revealed that a child is severely impacted by their parent’s drug and alcohol abuse. Prenatal or postnatal use of drugs or alcohol can mean health, mental, social and emotional issues for a child. The relational study compared children whose parents have a history of drug or alcohol abuse to the children whose parents did not. The sample was observed in the Head Start setting and consisted of 77 children. The children whose family life did not include substance abuse were compared to the children whose home life had included substance abuse at some time. The findings were that drug and alcohol use by a parent does affect a child in many ways. The study also implied that poverty and other social issues can affect the way a child grows up as well. The statistics showed that the combination of social issues a child at Head Start may experience has more of an impact than just the substance abuse of a parent. As an overall example; 45 children in the program with parents who were not substance abusers had health problems and 38 had developmental issues. 14 children whose parents abused drugs or alcohol had health problems and only 13 had developmental issues.


Providence College


May 2008









A project based on independent investigation, submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirement for the degree of Bachelor of Arts in Social Work. Originally written for the Theory Practice Seminar, Providence College, 2008.

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