Children in families where there is substance misuse are at high risk of being removed from their parents' care. This study describes the characteristics of a community sample of parents who primarily smoke methamphetamine and their child or children's residential status.
Design and methods
Baseline data from a prospective study of methamphetamine smokers ('VMAX'). Participants were recruited via convenience, respondent-driven and snowball sampling. Univariable and multivariable logistic regression analyses were used to estimate associations between parental status; fathers' or mothers' socio-demographic, psychosocial, mental health, alcohol, methamphetamine use dependence, alcohol use and child or children's co-residential status.
Of the 744 participants, 394 (53%) reported being parents; 76% (88% of fathers, 57% of mothers) reported no co-resident children. Compared to parents without co-resident children, parents with co-resident children were more likely to have a higher income. Fathers with co-resident children were more likely to be partnered and not to have experienced violence in the previous 6 months. Mothers with co-resident children were less likely to have been homeless recently or to have accessed treatment for methamphetamine use.
Discussion and conclusions
The prevalence of non-co-resident children was much higher than previously reported in studies of parents who use methamphetamine; irrespective of whether in or out of treatment. There is a need for accessible support and services for parents who use methamphetamine; irrespective of their child or children's co-residency status. Research is needed to determine the longitudinal impact of methamphetamine use on parents' and children's wellbeing and to identify how parents with co-resident children (particularly mothers) can be supported.