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Overview - Florida Children Drug Alcohol Study

Mother & DaughterThe Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) expanded the scope of the Women, Co-Occurring Disorders and Violence Study by funding four of the nine women's study sites to participate in an additional Children's Subset Study. The "Cooperative Agreement to Study Children of Women with Alcohol, Drug Abuse and Mental Health (ADM) Disorders who have Histories of Violence" seeks to generate and apply empirical knowledge about the effectiveness of trauma-informed, culturally relevant and age-specific intervention service models for children 5 to 10 years of age who have been impacted by their mother's co-occurring disorders and their mother's history of violence.

Even when the child is not the direct victim, children who witness violence suffer from stress reactions similar to those experienced directly by the victims of violence. The children of women with co-occurring ADM disorders and histories of violence are at risk for a multitude of problems as they grow older, including a sense of abandonment, anger, depression and co-occurring mental health and substance abuse disorders. Many times, the parents of these children are either incarcerated or currently dealing with their own mental health and substance abuse issues, and often the well being of the child goes unnoticed.

Mother & ChildrenExisting service systems for children are often complex and lack the trauma-informed focus that these children need. Current services like Florida course also lack the culturally and linguistically appropriate services focus and most often, the services have not been guided by the input of the women or mothers themselves. Further, the children exposed to parental violence are at a risk for long-lasting emotional and behavioral difficulties. The overarching purpose of the Children's Subset Study is to develop an appropriate intervention that addresses these issues, fills in the service voids and moves towards ending the cycle of violence.

The objective for this study is to identify and develop a model of care that will prevent or reduce the intergenerational perpetuation of violence, substance abuse and mental health problems and reduce the impact of violence in the lives of children whose mothers have co-occurring disorders and histories of trauma and to develop learnings to assist the field in general. These objectives will be achieved by:

reducing risk factors related to potential substance abuse,

reducing mental health and trauma dysfunction

increasing resiliency and coping skills

improving emotional and behavioral health.

A complete multi-site process and outcome evaluation of age-specific interventions and services will be conducted to answer the following question:

Do trauma-informed, age-specific interventions for children including concurrent services for mother and child as compared to children's services as usual yield:

  1. increased self awareness, self worth, and self-identity;
  2. increased healthy relationships;
  3. improved self care; and
  4. improved safety?




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