This brief summarizes the challenges involved in serving rural child welfare-involved families with substance use issues. We highlight differences between rural and non-rural areas and discuss strategies that could help alleviate difficulties in addressing child welfare cases in rural communities. Key findings include:
- Rural communities often lack the resources to provide services to parents struggling with substance use issues. Rural economics, transportation and technological limitations exacerbate these challenges.
- Child welfare and substance use treatment providers face particular challenges to collaboration with one another in rural communities. Stigma, lack of anonymity and misinformation compound these issues.
- Strategies specifically tailored to rural communities are needed to improve service access, develop workforce capacity, and improve collaboration.
In a future brief we will describe promising models for rural communities that could address the needs of parents who use substances and are involved with the child welfare system.