'Crack babies' do better when placed with non-family caregivers

y, and were born to mothers who were heavier cocaine users.

These results suggest that many of the negative outcomes observed in children of cocaine users may result from the quality of caregiving during infancy rather than from the direct effects of the drug in utero.

If the environment is, in fact, more important in determining child developmental outcomes than prenatal cocaine exposure, then developmental problems could be prevented and treated more easily. For instance, support could be provided either through direct intervention with children, by supporting women in their recovery from substance abuse, and/or in helping mothers improve their parenting skills. Finally, our study suggests that "kin" caregivers of cocaine-exposed infants and toddlers may also need support and help with parenting.


Contact: Karen Melnyk
Society for Research in Child Development

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