There is a strong correlation between parental substance abuse and child maltreatment, and many substance abusing parents do not or are not able to access treatment recovery programs. The literature indicates that 8.3 million children are living with a substance abusing parent in the United States, and of these parents 2.4 million do not receive substance abuse treatment and recovery programs (Carlson, 2006, p.97). As a result, many of these children are removed from their homes due to child maltreatment. This research study examined what mothers in recovery (with children in state custody) in a Northern Rhode Island social service agency have experienced as barriers when accessing substance abuse treatment programs. It was hypothesized that mothers will more effectively engage in substance abuse recovery when they are enrolled in a comprehensive program that encompasses their goals of reunification as well, which in turn will make recovery more attainable. This study surveyed eleven women enrolled in this community agency to inquire about their insights into obstacles they have encountered, past and present, when accessing substance abuse treatment as well as what would be helpful for their recovery and reunification. Results showed that some common obstacles when accessing treatment were transportation, fear of child welfare involvement, cost of programs, and wait lists. The responses collected confirmed that these mothers are interested and proactive about bringing their recovery and parenting efforts together in order to reunify their families as soon and successfully as possible. Implications for practice, policy and research were discussed.


Providence College


Spring 2010








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