AUSTIN— Today, the Texas Public Policy Foundation published the policy perspective A New Horizon: Changing Our Approach to Parental Substance Abuse.

“In Texas during the last decade, Child Protective Services (CPS) cases involving substance abuse rose by more than 50 percent,” said Charissa Huntzinger, policy analyst at the Texas Public Policy Foundation. “Mothers and pregnant women, in particular, face significant barriers to substance abuse treatment, not the least of which is the very real possibility of losing custody of their children while seeking sobriety. The child welfare system’s current punitive approach to parental substance use is outdated and, ironically, puts more children and families at risk.”

Key Points:

  • No one size fits all substance use disorder treatments. Parents should have the choice of their treatment plan.
  • There are systemic barriers to seeking treatment, such as criminal punishment, custody loss, stigma, and child care. Seeking treatment is difficult.
  • Untreated substance use disorders have a high price tag for taxpayers and the state.
  • Expanding community-based care would allow communities to tackle geographic substance use disorder problems and to increase treatment capacity.
  • Texas Family Code should include safe harbor provisions in statute for pregnant women seeking treatment, requiring CPS to prove additional grounds for removal beyond substance abuse during pregnancy.

To read the perspective in full, please visit: