Beginning addiction treatment can be a life-changing decision. This may be especially true if child protective services (CPS) has intervened due to the effects of substance use on parenting.
If CPS has temporarily intervened, engaging in treatment can help your case. When a parent shows that they are receiving addiction treatment, this can help the parent regain custody.
Courts typically consider what is in the best interests of the child. Often, they will avoid splitting up families and seek to send children temporarily to a spouse or other family members while a parent is in treatment.
What Courts Look For In Child Custody Cases Involving Addiction
Courts will look at the severity of the addiction and the effect that it has had on parenting. They will look into how the child is faring, if there’s a history of abuse, and any other history the parent has with both the child and other parent.
If substance use affects the parent’s ability to create a nurturing, safe, and supportive environment for a child, custody may be temporarily lost.
The courts may give custody over to the other parent or place the child with another family member. In some cases, the child may be put in foster care temporarily while their parent receives treatment.
Courts will often require specific terms to be met in order to regain custody. These requirements can vary but may include parenting assistance, further therapy, and more.
Meanwhile, CPS may provide a case manager to help with support services, from housing to employment assistance, as well as checking on the welfare of the child and family.
Commitment To Treatment And Your Child’s Best Interests
If you can show that you are dedicated to recovery, this reflects favorably on you. The focus of custody is whether it’s in the child’s best interests to be returned to you or your loved one.
If the court has given guardianship or custody over to another parent or family member, they may limit visitation of the child until certain treatment requirements are met.
Visitation rights may increase with time and completion of the requirements.
It’s not uncommon for treatment centers to offer visitation following the completion of detoxification. In these cases, visits with your child can also show a dedication to their care.
Many facilities will also allow you to communicate with family through letters, emails, or phone calls. Showing that you are dedicated to the welfare of your children is paramount.
Aftercare Following Treatment
Families work in a system, and entire family systems can be built around the influence of substance abuse. Once recovery happens, family dynamics shift.
This shift upends the old system in order to make way for a new, healthy system. However, this change can be difficult for both parents and children, as old dynamics are challenging to change.
Attending regular peer support meetings and therapy sessions following completion of your treatment program are often essential elements of aftercare.
Aftercare not only helps guard against relapse, but also provides added support that can help your family navigate this time.
It’s important to seek the assistance of a family law attorney in order to better understand your state’s laws and prepare for what is required.
This can also show a commitment to seeking the solutions that the courts have deemed necessary to ensuring the safety of your children.
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Published on September 28, 2023
Addiction Resource aims to provide only the most current, accurate information in regards to addiction and addiction treatment, which means we only reference the most credible sources available.
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- National Association for Children of Addiction (NACoA) — Families In Recovery
- Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) — Find Treatment
- Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) — Grants
- Verywell Family — How Parents Can Lose Child Custody Over Substance Abuse