JBA staff contributed to the Journal of Public Child Welfare with the article “Children Prenatally Exposed to Alcohol and Other Drugs: What the Literature Tells Us About Child Welfare Information Sources, Policies, and Practices to Identify and Care for Children.” The article, authored by Tammy Richards, Jacquelyn Bertrand, Sharon Newburg-Rinn, Heather McCann, Erin Morehouse, and Erin Ingoldsby was published online October 23, 2020. It was developed as part of the Prenatal Alcohol and Other Drug Exposures in Child Welfare project, funded by the Children’s Bureau, Administration for Children and Families, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The article describes a search and review of studies and policy/practice papers addressing the child welfare system’s response to children with prenatal substance exposures. Papers were found to address exposures to both alcohol and other drugs. Study findings indicated that these children may be more likely to enter the child welfare system, and once involved, may experience a greater number of temporary placements. Children in studies were most commonly identified by medical providers during the newborn period. This may lead to under-identification of children exposed to alcohol, which may not be detected at birth. This review indicates a need for more studies investigating child welfare practices in identifying and caring for children with prenatal exposures.