Fostering Recovery: Supporting Young Children Exposed to Substance Abuse and Their Families

This project is the product of a regional partnership between Mt. Hope Family Center, the Monroe County Department of Human Services, and the Administration on Children, Youth and Families Children's Bureau to address the complex relational needs of families dealing with chemical dependency, especially those who have infants and toddlers (birth through age 2). Research is clear that young children in the Child Welfare System rarely receive mental health services, even though past work has shown irregularities in infants and toddler’s biological, emotional, and behavioral regulation. Using the available empirical evidence, this project employs multiple evidenced-based, relational interventions (i.e., Child-Parent Psychotherapy, Attachment and Bio-Behavioral Catch-Up, and Relational Recovery Group), as well as a Rapid Referral program for substance abuse treatment and mechanisms to enhance Early Intervention utilization that are designed to improve children’s well-being.

Specific goals of the program are: 1) to enhance the parent-child relationship and support emotional security in young children living at home or in foster care; 2) increase the social, emotional and cognitive development of young children in the child welfare system; 3) to reduce out-of-home placements in children who remain at home and to decrease the time until permanency for children in foster care; and, 4) to enhance parental participation and success in conventional chemical dependency treatment. More specifically, the program supports parental recovery in four ways: 1) by providing rapid referrals to treatment providers; 2) by allowing individuals to see themselves as healthy parents for their children; 3) by linking success in recovery to children’s positive outcomes; and 4) by improving the parent-child attachment relationship, which reinforces parental responsibility and sobriety. The evaluation of this intervention assesses the degree of goal attainment.

Sheree L. Toth, Jody Todd Manly

Special Thanks To Our Funders
Administration on Children, Youth and Families and Monroe County Departments of Human Services

Banner Photo Credits: Left Photo © 2005 Anissa Thompson -, Center Photo by Zheng Xue Ping, Right Photo by Paolo Milanesi