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Module 5 – Case Planning, Family Strengthening, and Planning for Safety for Families with a Substance Use Disorder

Description and Objectives

The goal of Training Module 5 is to provide child welfare workers with an understanding of the importance of responding to families affected by substance use disorders from a strengths-based perspective while providing ongoing safety assessment and monitoring a family’s progress over time. This module also highlights the importance of incorporating information about an individual or family’s substance use and treatment services into their case plan and ongoing safety planning. The module emphasizes that supporting families in identifying strengths throughout the process can create long-term successful outcomes for children and families.

After completing this training, child welfare workers will:

  • Recognize assessment as a process, not an event, and understand the importance of ongoing assessment and evaluation.
  • Identify the effect of parental substance use disorders on child safety.
  • Develop a case plan to meet the needs of families with a substance use disorder that integrates ongoing planning for safety.
  • Implement strategies for monitoring progress.
  • Identify and build on family strengths for successful outcomes.

Training Tips

  • Use the *** bolded discussion questions integrated in the module talking points to enrich the training.
  • Integrate the child welfare safety methodology used in your state, highlighting areas where substance use disorders are assessed.
  • Consider assessment of family functioning, strengths and needs, and the methodology used in the context of substance use disorders.
  • Supplement content with information about services available through the child welfare agency or community agencies to families for assessment and treatment of substance use disorders, including referral forms, agency release of information, or other necessary procedures to facilitate access to services and communication about progress.
  • Highlight information about available supportive services for families affected by substance use disorders, such as peer mentors, transportation, housing, or other supportive services.
  • Share or incorporate agency policy and procedures about visitation or parenting time and drug-testing protocols.


  • Computer and projector
  • Speakers
  • Internet access
  • PowerPoint slides
  • Facilitator's Guide
  • Flip chart paper or white board (for use as a visual aid during discussion)

Find Help with a Personal Situation

Substance Use and Mental Health Treatment Locator

To find treatment facilities confidentially, 24/7, please call 1-800-662-4357 (HELP).

To locate general treatment services, visit the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s (SAMHSA’s) Treatment Locator online or call 1-800-662-4357 (HELP). This service provides referrals to local treatment facilities, support groups, and community-based organizations. It is a free, confidential, 24-hour-a-day, 365-day-a year information service, in English and Spanish, for individuals and family members needing treatment for a mental and/or substance use disorder.

National Child Abuse Hotline

If you suspect a child has been harmed by abuse or neglect, please call 1-800-422-4453.

If you suspect that a child has been harmed or is at risk of being harmed by abuse or neglect, call the National Child Abuse Hotline at Call the National Child Abuse Hotline at 1-800-422-4453. Serving the United States and Canada, the hotline is staffed 24 hours a day, 7 days a week with professional crisis counselors who—through interpreters—provide assistance in over 170 languages. All calls, texts, and chats are confidential. If you believe a child is in immediate danger of harm, call 911 first.

National Suicide Prevention Line

For free and confidential support for people in distress, 24/7, please call or text 988, chat, or call 1-800-273-8255.

If you or someone you know is having thoughts of suicide or experiencing a mental health or substance use crisis, help is available and there are options to receive compassionate care. You can call or text 988 or chat You can also call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (1-800-273-8255). Both are confidential and available 24/7 to everyone in the United States and will connect you to a trained counselor at a suicide crisis center nearest you.

Contact Us

The National Center on Substance Abuse and Child Welfare offers free technical assistance to a variety of systems on making policy and practice changes to improve outcomes for families affected by substance use disorders and involvement with child welfare services. To learn more about technical assistance services or if you have a question please email NCSACW at or call toll-free at 1–866–493–2758.

National Center on Substance Abuse and Child Welfare