“Saving the kids from parents”

September 24, 2007 at 2:41 pm | Posted in Media | 3 Comments

This is the provocative title of an opinion piece in today’s Herald Sun, by Jan Vuk.  Vuk picks up on a topic that has had considerable media exposure this year – parental substance abuse and the impact on young children.  Vuk poses the questions – how many times should a drug-addicted parent relapse before being considered incapable of parenting?  And how long should a child wait?  Vuk links these issues to the numbers of carers leaving the system, reportedly because of the increasing behavioural difficulties of children with substance addicted parents.  This article raises some important issues, from the support needs and demands placed on carers, to the systemic and societal factors associated with substance abuse that must be considered alongside the experiences and protective needs of children with substance addicted parents.  These issues are emotive and complicated, and cross the personal, societal  and economic/political arenas.  I suspect that the solutions must do likewise, to genuinely “save the kids”.


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  1. I appreciate your balanced approach in bringing the editorial forward. I am a licensed psychologist in the United States. My area of interest is addicted families. Thank you for making the editorial more accessible to those of us who would have missed it.

    Addiction is an emotional subject. And there is no question that kids do not have a choice about being raised in addictive families. Also, there is little debate that society has a responsibility to protect children when parents are disabled for any reason.

    It is my experience that the most effective advocates for children stick to the facts of the case. Unfortunately, Jan Vuk introduced a distraction to an otherwise excellent editorial when she said,”Addiction, no matter its nature or the fierceness of its grip, is, at its core, a choice.”

    Choice, volition, and free will are topics for another issue. For this discussion it is a road that I do not want to travel. It will not lead to establishing policy that will protect children nor is it necessary to do so. Vuk’s position is not any weaker without her opinion.

  2. Hi Neal, thanks for leaving a comment on this blog. I have visited your site, and can see that you have much to contribute to discussions in this area. I agree that the issue of choice was an unecessary distraction in the article, and ultimately adds further emotiveness to protection issues. What is the current practice or view concerning this area in your part of America?

  3. Yes! Finally something about Substance Abuse Resources.

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