Texans Care for Children (TCC) published a report with insightful data on parental substance abuse and CPS involvement. The goal of the report was to find ways to improve the CPS response when a parent is using alcohol or drugs, in order to prevent foster care entries and keep families together when possible.
The report highlights key statistics about removals that involve parental drug or alcohol abuse. Texas is a “low-removal state,” meaning that Texas only removes children when necessary. Despite this, new entries into the foster care system have increased nearly 20% since fiscal year 2015. Parental substance use is a significant contributing factor in most CPS removals, but most allegations are related to neglectful supervision and not abuse. TCC reports that parental substance abuse is rarely the sole reason children enter foster care and that limited access to substance use treatment for parents makes it difficult to keep families together.
Texans Care for Children posits several recommendations to improve outcomes for cases involving parental substance use or abuse, including appointing attorneys earlier in CPS cases and increasing access to substance use treatment. These are just a couple of examples of actions the state of Texas can take to ensure it is supporting families and preventing more children from entering foster care than absolutely necessary.
Texas CASA believes that the optimal outcome for children is to keep families together when possible and to prevent them from entering foster care. You can read the report in its entirety on the TCC website.