Graduation Semester and Year




Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Social Work


Social Work

First Advisor

Maria Scannapieco


Child abuse and neglect is a compelling phenomenon that has been attributed to a multitude of factors including maternal substance abuse. A significant number of the women involved with the child welfare system for child abuse or neglect are found to have issues due to substance abuse or dependency. In addition, most women involved with child welfare tend to be single and poor women of color. Still, relatively few studies have focused on these women. This study used an ex post facto design in its aim to increase the understanding of the factors that contribute to substance abuse and child welfare involvement among a group of largely Hispanic women that were involved in a supportive outpatient treatment program in large southwestern city. The study examined a number of predictor variables that were categorized into three main categories: maternal characteristics, substance abuse factors and associated factors. Using secondary data obtained from a supportive outpatient treatment program, 200 case records met the criteria for inclusion in the study. The criteria for inclusion in the study was that the woman: (1) was a mother with at least one child, (2) had a substance abuse disorder, and (3) was active in the supportive outpatient treatment for at least three months during 2000-2003. One hundred study group women were mothers with alcohol or drug abuse disorders that had been referred to treatment by Child Protective Services (CPS) while, a comparison group of mothers with similar alcohol or drug abuse experiences had not been referred into treatment by CPS. Chi-square analysis found that the CPS involved mothers were not significantly different from the Non-CPS involved mothers on all of the variables, however, significant differences were found on age, education, and employment. past treatment, prenatal substance abuse, childhood abuse, the perpetrator of the abuse, type of abuse experienced, and domestic violence. The results of a stepwise logistic regression method determined that five factors were significant in predicting child protective services involvement. These results and their implications social work practice, policy and research are presented.


Social and Behavioral Sciences | Social Work


Degree granted by The University of Texas at Arlington

Included in

Social Work Commons