If you are a parent about to enter rehab, you are probably worried about what will happen to your child/children. Who will take care of your child while you’re away? Will you lose custody of your child if you go to drug rehab? Having an idea of what might happen before entering rehab can help calm any fears you may have. You are entering a rehab facility because it’s time to start a new life. While it is absolutely understandable to be concerned about your child/children, you need to focus on your recovery first. Without recovery, things can spiral out of control fast.
Will I Lose Custody?
A drug addiction is a serious problem that needs to be addressed immediately. If it helps to calm any fears, the Department of Child and Family Services (DCFS) aims to keep families together if at all possible. They recognize that a child needs their parents. However, DCFS also realizes that the child’s best interests take primary importance. When you are using drugs, you are not being the best parent to your child because you are putting your life and your child’s life at risk. What happens if you overdose and your child is left unsupervised while you are passed out or needing serious medical attention? Examples like this point to negligence or child endangerment and you could lose custody. Seeking help for your addiction now will be one of the best things you can do for you and your child.
Entering rehab can help show the courts that you are committed to getting better. It will allow you a chance to prove to the court that you are capable of raising your child responsibly. Most children and teens are very aware of situations. They can tell if mom and/or dad are doing behaviors that are harmful and unhealthy. You are entering a rehab because you recognize that you need help. Young children and even teenagers are often watching what their parents do. Be a good role model and show them it’s time to take control and seek help for your addiction. You want to be the best person and parent possible. That means you need to attend rehab.
So, will you lose custody of your child? It’s a tough question to answer because it will depend on your specific situation. The short answer is that you may or may not lose custody of your child. Or you may lose custody temporarily until you finish a rehab program and prove to the courts you are committed to staying sober and getting better. Each case is unique.
How You Could Lose Custody
Losing custody of your child/children can be scary for any parent. And unfortunately, it could happen. If you have been arrested for a substance abuse problem (drugs or alcohol) you could lose custody of your child or you could lose custody temporarily. If there are no criminal charges against you, there is still a chance you could lose custody if someone reports to DCFS that your drug use has caused child negligence. A third way that custody could be taken away is if you are going through a divorce and your spouse accuses you of drug abuse. This third case is the hardest for courts to determine the validity of such accusations by your ex-spouse because it may or may not be grounded in reality.
In all cases, the child’s best interests are the first concern. The courts will try their best to keep families together, but it could be determined that you are unfit to care for your child. Each case is different, so do not let this information scare you. Going to rehab is going to help your situation, not hurt it.
Who Will Take Care Of My Child While I’m Away?
There are very few inpatient facilities out there that offer daycare for your child. You could arrange for your child to attend a local daycare during the day and have trusted friends or relatives care for the child during nights and weekends while you are at rehab. Or maybe your child is old enough to attend school during the day while being watched by a trusted adult during nights and weekends. Or if you have a spouse that does not have a drug addiction, your child may be in their care. Sometimes the courts may determine where the child can stay.
If you are concerned that you are leaving your child for a few months to attend rehab, you are not a bad parent. It is much better that you seek help now instead of continuing with your addiction and something terrible happens to you or your child. In fact, by attending a rehab, you are a parent that realizes you are human. No parent is perfect. By attending rehab, you are showing your child and the court that you want to get better and that you want to be the best version of yourself as possible. The commitment to attend rehab and stay sober for you and your child is something you should be proud of.
Can I Regain Custody?
Again, each situation is unique. However, if you have lost custody of your child, there are some steps you must do to prove to the court you are capable of raising your child. You must show the court that you have successfully completed your drug rehab treatment, prove you have successfully recovered, and you must be currently drug free. How long this process takes depends on your individual case, how severe it was, and if there was an arrest involved. Many factors go into whether the court determines you are able to regain custody of your child or not.
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Seeking help for a drug addiction is not a weak thing to do. In fact, asking for help is a very strong thing to do. Too many people suffering from an addiction are afraid to ask for help. Be brave and reach out to someone today. Choosing to attend rehab is a great decision. And it’s a decision both you and your child will be proud of. You may even be a hero in your child’s eyes. It’s not too late to start your new life. Contact us at DrugRehab.org today. We can answer any questions you have regarding child custody or help you find a rehab that’s right for you. We can help you become the person and parent you were meant to be.