Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome (NAS) diagnoses in the United States, especially in rural areas have skyrocketed in recent years in conjunction with the increase in opioid use disorders. Neonates born with this condition possess a plethora of needs. The literature indicates the effects of NAS on substance-exposed infants are shown to have negative physical, cognitive, behavioral, and educational effects throughout the life course. Children with a NAS diagnosis are more likely to be involved in the foster care system due to stigma and legal implications facing the biological mothers of this population. The proposed intervention setting is AGAPE, which employs social workers who serve foster children in the urban and rural areas of middle Tennessee. Social Workers are called to serve the vulnerable and uphold the health and wellbeing of all youth. The literature demonstrates how NAS children need the services social work provides, current statistics demonstrate the negative effects this condition is having on children across the lifespan, as well as the barriers to care, including legislation, stigma, and gaps in care. Current evidence-based best practices and education are not being utilized to impact service delivery and elevate levels of care. The use of the proposed Educational Series at AGAPE works to address the current gap in services and ensure that staff and foster families working with this vulnerable population are better equipped to provide and elevate the care for these children. Long-term utilization of best-practice education and resources will help to elevate the level of care for children at AGAPE and the local foster care community.
Bradshaw, Kennedy E., "Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome's Interaction with Foster Care: Exploring Challenges and Improving Outcomes" (2023). Senior Capstone Papers. 1.