4. Implement concurrent assessment, monitoring and intervention strategies

The substance testing of parents is not generally considered an intervention in isolation from other substance misuse or abuse treatment options. Where parents participate in substance testing, it is necessary that other, complementary methods for establishing, monitoring and addressing parental substance misuse are clearly incorporated as part of departmental intervention. For further information, refer to the practice paper Parental substance misuse and child protection: intervention strategies (PDF, 239 KB).

In addition to the substance testing of parents, ensure that consideration is given to:

  • assessment and/or treatment by ATODS, for the purpose of:
  • determining the parent’s level and nature of the substance misuse or abuse and associated health and intervention needs
  • obtaining advice about the most effective and appropriate substance misuse or abuse intervention options available to parents
  • practical strategies parents can use to manage the stressors in their lives
  • relapse prevention planning, including practical strategies for implementation
  • assessment and intervention strategies in relation to other risk factors, where applicable, identified as contributing to the child’s protection and care needs, for example, mental health issues, knowledge of child development and parenting and behaviour management skills.

For information about available substance misuse or abuse interventions, contact the nearest Alcohol, Tobacco and Other Drugs service.

Note: Should parents request ATODS assessment or treatment, regardless of whether substance testing is occurring or whether test results are non-negative or positive, always:

  • refer the parent to an appropriate service
  • record the referral outcome.