Who Will Take Custody of Child While Undergoing Drug or Alcohol Treatment?

Who Will Take Custody of Child While Undergoing Drug or Alcohol Treatment?


If a person is having a young child and interested to get inpatient treatment for drug or alcohol abuse, then the question is, can he or she continue to have custody of the young child? In this small write-up we shall dwell upon this problem to know what the options available are.

Many people particularly mothers often delay their treatment for the drug abuse just in order to nurse her young child. However, such mothers need to understand that if they are breast feeding their child then it can also negatively affect the health of the child too. Therefore, those who are struggling due to addiction should understand how their parental rights will be impacted due to their treatment.

Looking at the above problem, 47 states of the country has created a child protection law to address such growing problem of parental drug use. The rules vary in different states however few states consider that misuse of such drugs also under the definition of child abuse and hence they are not allowed any parental rights while undergoing treatment. For regaining custody after drugs treatment, they need to prove in the court that they have successfully undergone treatment for drug abuse.

Under following conditions, the parent may usually lose the right of custody of their children.

  • If the parent is ever arrested for any drug or alcohol related abuse
  • If the Department of Child and Family Services (DCFS) files any report of mistreatment or neglect of child and the person fails in the drug test.
  • During the divorce or separation hearing, if the parent fails in the drug test

Court will always see the best interest of the child and their intention is not always to separate the parent from their child. However, if the parent is found to be absolutely unfit to take care of the child then the parental right will be denied. The court decision does not remain permanent and under certain conditions the parental right can again be restored.

Following are few options available for the court:

  • Court will ask the non-addicted spouse to take care of the child
  • Other trusted relative can also be given the custody of the child

After the parent has undergone the treatment, they can get back the custody of their child.

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