Substance misuse-related parental child maltreatment: Intergenerational implications for grandparents, parents, and grandchildren relationships

Document Type

Journal Article




School of Medical and Health Sciences


Originally published as: Taylor, M. F., Marquis, R., Coall, D., & Wilkinson, C. (2017). Substance Misuse–Related Parental Child Maltreatment: Intergenerational Implications for Grandparents, Parents, and Grandchildren Relationships. Journal of Drug Issues, 43(2), 241-260. Original article available here


In Australia, children removed from the parental home because substance use–related child maltreatment issues are commonly placed in grandparent custodial care; however, the longer term relational costs of this approach have yet to be determined. Conventional, summative, and directive content analyses were conducted on data extracted from 88 Australian custodial grandparent completed Grandcarer Needs, Wellbeing and Health Surveys. Conventional analysis revealed the most common reason grandparents gave for their assumption of custodial care was drug use–related acts of parental child maltreatment. Summative analysis revealed antidepressants, marijuana, Valium, ice, and amphetamines were the most commonly used parental drugs and that these drugs were frequently used in combination with dexamphetamine, antipsychotics, heroin, ecstasy, and cocaine. Directed analysis contextualized the strain that drug use–related custodial caregiving places on grandparents’ financial resources, and how this strain is burdensome when the grandparents’ annual income is less than Aus$80,000. It also contextualizes the need for future research to explore family reunification desires/barriers.