Child Intervention for Living Drug-Free (CHILD)

Child Intervention for Living Drug-Free (CHILD) Curriculum provides treatment providers with the tools they need to identify, assess, and treat children with substance use disorders (SUDs) using age-appropriate interventions and methodologies.

It is a six-course training programme that responds to the needs of children and their caregivers impacted by substance use and life circumstances of various social, cultural, economic, and political situations.

The curriculum was developed by an internationally-recognised panel of experts from a broad range of specialisations—including treatment, prevention, public policy, pediatric medicine, psychology and pharmacology—with first-hand experience in working directly with substance-using children and their caregivers from diverse social backgrounds.

The Child Intervention for Living Drug-Free Curriculum is based on 7 key assumptions:

  1. A child cannot be effectively treated in isolation. For any intervention to be successful, it is essential to treat the child with an understanding of—and in concert with—his or her relational and environmental context.
  2. Each course requires local cultural adaptation. Each course requires adaptation by the local community to accommodate the unique cultural and social circumstances in which specific substance use-impacted children and caregivers are being engaged.
  3. Each course assumes a “systems approach” to managing child substance use disorders. Both psychosocial (non-pharmacologic) and pharmacologic approaches are essential systems in a comprehensive care approach to the treatment of substance use disorders. 
  4. The community has a key role in the treatment and support of the child. Providers must determine how to interact with the community to nourish the child’s sense of relationship and belonging to that community.
  5. Every child’s health and safety in treatment must be protected. As patients, children have rights; they must be protected from practices that could be injurious, supervised in all settings, and screened for physical and as well as mental health issues.
  6. Delivering effective treatment may mean redefining “family”. Family may mean caregivers, doctors, teachers, social workers, therapists, religious workers, recovery groups, and others. For some children—the community itself is family.
  7. Substance use disorders and trauma are often related and must be addressed. The complex link between substance use and trauma requires attention; trauma is an individual experience and individual children respond differently to similar events.