Substance-Abusing Fathers in Family Court: Moving from Popular Stereotypes

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Although all forms of substance abuse disproportionately affect men during early to middle adulthood, when many are fathering children, the status of substance-abusing men as parents is largely ignored in public policy, service delivery, and research exploring the consequences of chronic drug and alcohol abuse. In this review, the authors highlight issues of potential concern to professionals working with this poorly understood, negatively stereotyped population of fathers in family court settings. After reviewing the existing literature on substance-abusing fathers and their children, the authors challenge family court personnel to use (a) awareness of stereotyping, (b) clinical assessment, (c) the principles of therapeutic jurisprudence, and (d) treatment resources to minimize, as much as possible, the risk for poor developmental outcomes incurred by children with a substance-abusing father.

Related Topics

  • Behavioral Health
  • Child Welfare
  • Fathers/Partners
  • Parenting
  • Trauma