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Toolkit: Helping Children Impacted by Parental Substance Use Disorder

Updated: Feb 20, 2023

A Resource for Adults Helping Children Affected by Parental Substance Use Disorder


In the U.S., over 8 million children have at least one parent with an SUD. This

number may undercount the real amount of impacted children because of

reluctance to self identify as children of parents with a SUD. When we encounter a child who has a parent struggling with a substance use disorder, it can be hard to know what to do. What should we look for? What can we say? If there are signs of neglect or abuse, what are the steps we should take?


Developed in coordination with Warren County, Ohio, this publication is for adults who come into contact with children impacted by a parent’s addiction and provides information about how to help. It is meant for anyone—teachers, coaches, pastors, relatives, friends, neighbors.

APF Helping Children Impacted by Addiction
Download PDF • 2.31MB


Parolin, M., Simonelli, A., Mapelli, D., Sacco, M., Cristofalo, P. (2016). Parental Substance Abuse As an Early Traumatic Event. Preliminary Findings on Neuropsychological and Personality Functioning in Young Drug Addicts Exposed to Drugs Early. Front Psychol, 7: 887. https://doi:10.3389/fpsyg.2016.00887.


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