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Children of parents who abuse meth and other drugs the focus of new state alliance

February 14, 2007

ATLANTA – In Georgia, as many as 900,000 children are at risk of being removed from their families and becoming wards of the juvenile justice system due to their parents abuse of methamphetamine and other drugs. In light of this, the state has created the Georgia Alliance for Drug Endangered Children (GADEC) involving multiple social and child serving agencies who will work to intervene early and help keep families together. According to the Georgia Division of Family and Children Services, 65% of child deprivation cases involve parents either manufacturing or abusing drugs. It is also estimated that 99.8% of youth assessed by the Georgia Department of Juvenile Justice report having an alcoholic or drug addicted parent or sibling.

"Today, most children affected by their parent’s drug abuse are discovered or rescued during law enforcement or social service actions involving their parents. We see this moment as a defining event," said Gwen Skinner, Director for the Division of Mental Health, Developmental Disabilities and Addictive Diseases. "If ignored and left unmonitored, these children will continue to be victims. However, with immediate intervention and specialized services, we can improve outcomes for these children and their families."

Upon removal from a dangerous environment, children exposed to drug abuse require immediate attention of child welfare services and assessment by medical and mental health professionals. GADEC coordinates these actions through teams that help protect the child and to reunify families where appropriate.

Research has shown that children of parents who abuse drugs are more likely to experience physical, sexual, or emotional abuse than children in non-substance abusing households. They may also be exposed to toxic chemicals, unsanitary and unsafe living conditions, medical neglect and lack of basic care. This is especially the case in situations involving methamphetamine use.

For more information, access www.georgiadec.org.


For information, contact:
Kenya Bello; 404.657.1389
knbello@dhr.state.ga.us