The Impact of Substance Use and Recovery on Children and Families

This workshop will provide information on how Substance Use Disorder and recovery affect parenting behavior, children and family functioning – both in times of active addiction and in recovery. We will also examine strategies for providing safety to children in homes with parental addiction, as well as support for parents and caregivers of children while in treatment and early recovery. Changes in family functioning as a result of Substance Use Disorder will also be discussed.


The first half of the training will focus on ways in which family functioning changes and how children are affected by a parent/caregiver behavior during active addiction, including:

  • The effects of a variety of substances on behavior of parents and risks for children living with parents in active addiction.
  • Development of unhealthy coping skills in families of those with Substance Use Disorder: denial/rationalizing/minimizing; caretaking and enabling; isolation; physical and emotional illness.
  • Strategies that family members and the community at large can offer as supports to children and families.
  • Challenges faced by grandparents, siblings and extended family members when parental substance use is present.

In the second half of the training, we will explore the impact of early recovery on families and children. Examples include:

  • How children may experience a “trauma of recovery” when parents enter treatment, and how children react to a newly sober parent.
  • Family expectations vs reality in early recovery.
  • Strategies that families can use in interacting with those in recovery from substance use disorder, how parents can reunify with their children following treatment, and resources available to help.
  • The importance of healing guilt and shame associated with harm to children during active addiction; regaining trust in families.


At the completion of this training, participants will be able to:

Demonstrate understanding of at least three ways that children are affected by Substance Use Disorder.

Identify at least three ways that family functioning changes as a result of addiction and recovery.

Understand the needs of children and family members who care for children while their parents are engaged in treatment and early recovery.

Thursday, May 16, 2019 - 9:00am to 4:00pm
PCB Hours Approved: 
6 hrs
Beth Bitler, MSA, CAAP, CFRS
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