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01-08-2015 | Original Paper | Uitgave 8/2015

Journal of Child and Family Studies 8/2015

Children Impacted by Parental Substance Abuse: An Evaluation of the Supporting Kids and Their Environment Program

Journal of Child and Family Studies > Uitgave 8/2015
Andrew J. Lewis, Natalie-Mai Holmes, Brittany Watkins, Donna Mathers


The deleterious impact of parental substance abuse on child development and family functioning is well established. However, evaluations of interventions designed to ameliorate such impacts are very limited. This paper presents the results of a service evaluation using a pre-post design of the Supporting Kids And Their Environment (SKATE) program; a child-focused group program run by Glastonbury Community Services from 2006 to 2010 in the Geelong region of Victoria, Australia. The intervention was an 8-week psycho-educative model that used family-based techniques. Outcomes are reported for child behavior problems, assessed on the Child Behavior Checklist, and family functioning, assessed on the Family Support Scale. A total of 89 children and families within 13 intervention groups were recruited via adult Drug and Alcohol Services (Mean age = 10.4 years; SD = 2.4). Results suggest reductions in emotional and behavioral problems in children as well as improving family functioning with small to moderate effect sizes after children’s participation in the SKATE program compared to pre-test. These preliminary findings suggest that children whose parents are substance abusing are a high-risk group but they may benefit from targeted intervention programs that are well integrated with the adult drug treatment system. Such interventions warrant further development and evaluation.

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