Family-focused substance abuse treatment: a program evaluation

J Psychoactive Drugs. Jul-Sep 2003;35(3):321-31. doi: 10.1080/02791072.2003.10400015.


Until recently, few programs were available for children whose mothers are in recovery. A refinement of the gender-specific model of substance abuse treatment, the "family-focused" approach, has placed increased emphasis on the needs of children and other family members. However, because these programs are relatively new, little is known about the effectiveness of this type of treatment for either the mother or her children. This article presents findings from a three-year evaluation of a family-focused residential treatment program for women and their children. Longitudinal assessment of the mothers indicated that their psychosocial status and parenting attitudes improved over time. Additionally, the mothers remained in treatment longer. At intake, as a group, the children who were birth to three years of age did not exhibit developmental delay. However, developmental concerns were identified for some children in the areas of motor and/or language development. The results reported here provide beginning evidence that family-focused treatment improves retention, psychosocial functioning, and parenting attitudes of pregnant and parenting women. It also provides a mechanism for early identification and intervention for children.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Child Development
  • Child of Impaired Parents / psychology
  • Child, Preschool
  • Education
  • Family* / psychology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Length of Stay
  • Maternal Behavior / drug effects*
  • Mother-Child Relations
  • Mothers / psychology
  • Parenting
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Complications / psychology
  • Pregnancy Complications / therapy*
  • Program Evaluation
  • Residential Treatment*
  • Self-Help Groups / organization & administration*
  • Substance-Related Disorders / psychology
  • Substance-Related Disorders / therapy*