Approximately half of mothers receiving substance use treatment are involved with childcare proceedings.
This review aims to determine whether integrated treatment programmes for mothers with substance use problems are effective in preventing out-of-home placement (temporally/permanent) and influencing other maternal factors such as patterns of substance use, treatment completion and parenting behaviours. Six trials were identified-two randomised controlled trials and four non-randomised controlled studies. The pooled sample of participants was 1717.
The results showed that mothers who participated in integrated treatment programmes were significantly less likely to have the children removed from their care (Odds Ratio (OR) = 0.40, 95% CI = 0.27, 0.61), more likely to complete substance use treatment (OR = 3.01, 95% CI = 1.79, 5.06), and more likely to reduce their alcohol consumption (Standardised Mean Difference (SMD) = -0.40, 95% Cl = -0.78, -0.01) and drug use (SMD = -0.30, 95% CI = -0.53, -0.07).
However, non-significant reductions were observed for parent-child conflict (SMD = -0.35, 95% CI = -0.72, 0.03) and child abuse risk (SMD = -0.03, 95% CI = -0.36, 0.31). While the findings from this review suggest that mothers involved in integrated treatment programmes could potentially be less likely to experience out-of-home child placements and more likely to improve substance use treatment outcomes, little evidence exists for the effectiveness of these interventions.
Further research, particularly high-quality RCTs, is required to demonstrate and persuade health and public policy on the far-reaching value of the integrated approaches.
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