Christos House: The Right Stuff

 shutterstock_43703626Wendy A. Walsh in The Carsey Institute fall of 2010 newsletter reported that in a child maltreatment investigation “Neglected children from poor households are more likely to be placed in out-of-home care.  The close relationship between child neglect, poverty, and placement in out-of-home care has been a long-standing concern among child welfare professionals. Because of this concern, seven states bar the removal of children for poverty-related reasons like homelessness or a person’s financial inability to meet a child’s basic needs. Yet, inadequacy of family income con­tinues to be a strong predictor of whether a child reported to child protective services (CPS) is placed in foster care.

Analyzing data from a nationally representative sample of children with a report of child neglect, this study finds that children whose caregivers struggle with drug abuse, mental health problems, alcohol abuse, or struggle to pay for basic necessities were more likely to be placed in out-of-home care than families without such struggles, even after con­trolling for other risk factors. These findings echo other research that demonstrates the many challenges families face that have a report of child neglect. Their struggles suggest that intervention and prevention must not only integrate substance abuse and mental health services but also address the needs and effects of long-term poverty, such as apathy, loss of hope, and indifference.” (end of quote)

At this time, many of the families we are working with have gone through the removal of their children due to active drug and alcohol abuse and mental health issues which can lead to cases of child neglect.  As we read in the quote above, poverty also plays a role in this bigger picture as people experience the effects of long-term poverty cited as apathy, loss of hope, and indifference also negative contributing factors to drug and alcohol abuse and mental health issues. Christos House has been around for thirty plus years and proves continually that our integrated approach carries the highest success rate for that family who love their children but due to the devastating effects of poverty and mental illness start to lose control at some point.  I can work closely with Children’s Division caseworkers to provide long-term support and access resources to reunite the family.  I have been told that the caseworkers love us.

Working with the families with drug issues, you get just glimpses of how pervasive the drug culture in this area really is.  One woman told me that when she got involved in drugs, within three months she had over 300 contacts on her cell phone for drug dealers.  Another family related that after they quit, “friends” came by everyday pressuring them until after a few months of being clean they gave in.  For many, it is their vocation to cook and sell.  It is my understanding from testimony that even when you are clean your body craves the drug 24-7 without a break.  That person needs access to support continually if they are going to be successful in staying clean and taking care of their family.  The Christos House program offers that.  I am so proud and fortunate to provide this service to our community families.

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