Child and family protection services programs serve a critical role in social service and criminal justice systems. With a goal of reuniting families safely, they ultimately serve to protect children from neglect and abuse even if that means separating them from their biological families when needed. Many of these programs are either state funded or non-profit and serve an obvious need in the community for the safety of the child.
One of the major reasons children and families enter into these programs is abuse or neglect associated with parental alcohol or drug abuse. It is crucial to remove children from these situations quickly due to the lifelong effects they can have. During the time while the child is not in the home or the parents are under supervision, it is very important to regularly drug test parents and guardians to keep children safe. Below are a few reasons to consider when partnering with a drug testing company to ensure the reliability and accuracy of your testing program.
Substance Use Disorder Prevents Parents from Making Responsible Decisions
Alcohol and drugs can cause parents to lose clarity and make poor decisions for their child’s care and safety. With the legalization of marijuana and the way our society glorifies alcohol, there are a lot of people who casually partake in substance use or even use regularly where it becomes a significant problem. Unfortunately, no amount of drug use is safe when taking care of a minor. There is no option to “turn off” a high if an emergency or need were to arise. The user not only loses the ability to safely protect the wellbeing of the family, but they also are unable to make clear decision-making choices during this time. Drug testing deters substance use from happening and can prevent these unfortunate situations from arising, allowing parents to focus on those who need them the most, their children.
False Negatives Can Affect Child Safety
Your drug testing program allows for accountability to ensure that the parent is not using drugs and it is a smart way to protect children. Your drug testing partner needs to conduct observed collections. If the parent or guardian has the opportunity to adulterate their sample and pass their test, this false negative result will allow them to continue to use substances which puts their children at risk. For the safety of the child, directly observed collections should be conducted at each collection to ensure the test result is not a false negative and the test has not been adulterated.
Instant v. Lab-based Testing
Additionally, if instant screens are being used by the program, clients have a greater chance of a false negative result. Instant tests have a 25% inaccuracy rate, meaning one in four of these tests are incorrect. Furthermore, instant screens can only test for the specific drugs on the cup and you do not have the ability to rotate the panels. This allows clients to switch their drug of choice to something you may not be testing for with your instant cup. Lab-based testing is the most reliable way to tell if your client is using. With a greater than 97% accuracy rate and an expanded panel that can be rotated you have flexibility in what drugs you can test for and are able to customize the panels.
Specimen Types for Abstinence Monitoring
The best specimen options for abstinence monitoring are urine and oral fluid. Urine detects more than 1,500 substances while oral fluid detects more than 100 substances. The window of detection for urine is 2-3 days while oral fluid is 5-48 hours. Urine is the best option for abstinence testing because it tests for recent and past usage. It is also a lower cost option, contains a high concentration of drugs, and only a small amount is needed to support multiple tests.Oral fluid testing is a less-invasive collection, fast, simple, observable and no bathroom facilities, so you do not need gender specific technicians for collection. While oral fluid tests for evidence of “under the influence,” it does allow for past usage, which is critical when monitoring for abstinence. When conducting home visits or doing mobile collections, oral fluid testing works well with child and family services programs.
Providing a Path to Recovery
Obviously keeping children safe is the most important priority for child and family programs but helping reunite families should also be a primary focus. When partnering with a drug testing company, identify one that uses evidence-based practices with next day business results so that you can have an early intervention with parents to prevent new use events. When parents are set-up for success, they can work on reaching recovery and ultimately have their children back home living in a safe environment.
Averhealth partners with child and family services programs nationwide to provide the smartest, most innovative solutions for substance use disorder monitoring and recovery. Our mission is to reclaim lives, reunite families and strengthen families. If you are looking for a new drug testing partner, Averhealth is happy to discuss how we can offer your program the best in class drug testing program to ensure the safety of the children you work with on a daily basis. We offer smarter solutions and better outcomes. If you’re interested in learning more, please reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org.