Pubdate: Sun, 16 Dec 2007
Source: Amarillo Globe-News (TX)
Copyright: 2007 Amarillo Globe-News
Author: Nancy Ford


(Re: Dec. 12 guest column, "Prison not part of solution  to drug, 
alcohol addiction," by Hal Don House.)

I agree completely!

I am a Court Appointed Special Advocate for children  who are involved
in the court system, usually because  of parental drug abuse.

Children whose parents abuse alcohol and other drugs  are four times
more likely to be neglected and three  times likelier to be sexually
or physically assaulted.  When families do not receive proper
substance abuse  treatment, children are more apt to remain in foster
care longer and re-enter once they have returned home.

Children of substance-abusing parents are more likely  to encounter
problems with delinquency, poor school  performance, emotional
challenges and hyperactivity  than peers whose parents do not abuse.

But instead of handling addicted parents in the  criminal courts, with
the possibility of jail time  (which does not help their children),
many states are  turning to family treatment courts or family drug

In recent years, dozens of such courts have sprouted  across the
nation to address the substance-abuse issues  that decimate many
families. In these courts, parents  in recovery can have regular
contact with their  children while their progress is closely monitored.

Rehabilitation for parents is less expensive and more  productive than
jail or prison time, and allowing  children to maintain contact with
their parents under  closely monitored conditions is less expensive
than  placing them in overloaded foster care programs.

A recent large-scale study funded by the U.S.  Department of Health
and Human Services showed that  family treatment courts are more
successful than  traditional dependence courts in helping
substance-abusing parents complete treatment and  reunite with their


- ---
MAP posted-by: Steve Heath