Randomised and quasi-randomised controlled trials and cohort studies of substance abuse treatment programmes on women who were pregnant or parenting were eligible for inclusion. Treatment programmes had to include at least one specific substance use treatment and at least one parenting or child (<16 years) treatment service. Eligible studies had to report quantitative data on child outcomes or other outcomes.
The included studies comprised various combinations of group and individual addiction treatment programmes that addressed maternal mental health, parenting education and counselling, life skills training, prenatal education, medical and nutrition services, education and employment assistance, obstetrical and paediatric care, child care, children’s services and aftercare. The studies used various measurement tools for child development, growth and emotional and behavioural functioning outcomes. Assessed times were variable. Where reported, follow-up was for six or 12 months. Children were mostly assessed at ages in the range of three to 24 months; one study reported on older children.
Most studies were conducted in North America. The average age of participants ranged from 27 to 31 years. Most participants had experienced trauma such as childhood maltreatment, had mental health problems, were unemployed, single parents and were typically polysubstance users.
Two reviewers independently screened titles and abstracts of the studies identified in the searches. Any discrepancies were resolved by consensus.