Perceptions of children's lives: child welfare and policy in the wake of methamphetamine
T h e U n i v e r s i t y o f U t a h G r a d u a t e S c h o o l STATEMENT OF THESIS APPROVAL The thesis of Leslie Faye Durham has been approved by the following supervisory committee members: ABSTRACT The link between substance abuse and child maltreatment has only reached the policy level in the last decade. Methamphetamine abuse surged recently, and was particularly dangerous for children because of high rates of female caregiver use, the existence of home laboratories, and increased
... nd increased violence and neglect in the home. Policy makers responded with varying success through different legislative initiatives. In this study, in-depth interviews of 13 stakeholders (legislators, child welfare agency representatives, judges, and addiction counselors) have indicated first-hand understanding of what aids or hinders substance abusing parents involved in the child welfare system. Through in-depth, semistructured interviews, this study investigated how policy makers and implementers perceive methamphetamine abusing parents and child welfare from an insider's perspective. Method triangulation was used to examine relevant policy changes, qualitative interviews, and content analysis of public service campaigns. A unique illustrated timeline was constructed to capture the history of policy, methamphetamine surges, public perceptions, and the burden on child welfare. The purpose of this study was to examine substance abuse and child well-being from the perspective of experts who were in the field of government, child welfare, criminal justice, and addiction treatment in the intermountain west. There are implications of this research on working with substance using parents as well as family preservation and reunification as it provides stakeholders the critical ability to plan for future drug surges as they impact the treatment of children.