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Prevalence of ICE in families of children entering care: DCCSDS study

by PeakCare Qld on 10th February 2017

Home -> Articles -> 2017 -> February -> Prevalence of ICE in families of children entering care: DCCSDS study

In late 2016, the Department of Communities, Child Safety and Disability Services conducted a once-off study based on a representative sample regarding the prevalence of methamphetamine use amongst parents whose children came into care (either intervention with parental agreement or child protection order).

The major findings of the study included:

  • One in every three children who came into the care of the Department had a parent with a current or previous methamphetamine use recorded
  • For the vast majority (over 80 per cent) the methamphetamine type was recorded as ICE
  • In the majority of cases (65 per cent) where parental ICE use was recorded, the use of ICE was reported to have occurred in the last 12 months, but not prior to that.This indicates most of these parents had only recently begun using ICE.
  • The findings suggest that methamphetamine use by this particular cohort of families is now more prevalent than alcohol misuse.Approximately ten years ago (2006-07) alcohol was the most common substance misused (51 per cent), followed by marijuana (23 per cent) and heroin (7 per cent).

It is important to not read more into these findings than was intended. For example, the representative sample was limited to those families whose children became the subject of intervention with parental agreement or a child protection order and making assumptions based on these findings about the prevalence of methamphetamine use by parents within the general population should be avoided. It’s also not possible to deduce from these findings the proportion of families who, for reasons other than their use of methamphetamines, may have come to the attention of the Department and/or been made subject to these particular interventions. The findings are nevertheless disturbing and strongly suggest a need to examine the service models and responses being provided by both government and non-government sector agencies. Are they designed and being delivered in a manner that effectively caters for the needs of children, parents and families where methamphetamines are being used? Are there differences to be taken into account when working with parents who are using methamphetamines compared to parents who mis-use alcohol and/or other substances?

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