HUNTINGTON BEACH, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Soberlink, the experts in remote alcohol monitoring, and the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges (NCJFCJ) have teamed up to create a Judge’s Bench Card regarding Alcohol Use Disorder (AUD). The Bench Card, which includes vital information regarding the diagnosis of AUD as well as common misconceptions of the disease, provides practical guidance for judges, family law professionals, litigants, or anyone else involved in a case where parental alcohol misuse could potentially impact the wellbeing of a child.
The role of alcohol use in cases of family law is complex and nuanced. According to The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, as of June 2021, 10.5% of children in the U.S. live with a parent who misuses alcohol, and 14.5 million adults have AUD. This growing problem, exacerbated by recent pandemic-induced stress and isolation, poses a potential risk to children and families.
However, since alcohol is a legal, easily accessed substance, the differentiation between alcohol use and misuse in terms of how fit a parent is to take care of a child is not always clear. The fact that a parent drinks any amount of alcohol on a regular basis does not necessarily mean that he or she is an unfit parent. Moreover, there are many public misconceptions when it comes to AUD, especially how a parent undergoing treatment for the disease should be considered in a family law case.
It’s this complexity, as well as a shared passion for keeping children and families safe, that inspired Soberlink and the NCJFCJ to collaborate on the Judge’s Bench Card for AUD.
“For those with a history of AUD, regaining the trust of their family, particularly in cases of family law, can be incredibly difficult,” said Chris Beck, VP of Business Development – Family Law at Soberlink, Inc. “The unique features of our remote alcohol monitoring system such, as facial recognition, tamper detection, and real-time results, deliver a resource with non-biased, court-admissible proof of sobriety, as well as expert-endorsed tactics for managing any potential family risk. We believe this empowers parents who suffer from AUD with a path forward to re-establishing that trust.”
A key component of the Bench Card is the Risk Chart, an applied reference guide that judges can use to determine the risk level for a child based on the specific circumstances of a parent’s alcohol use. The chart, which scores parental behavior and history as low, medium, or high risk, also includes practical solutions for how to manage each level of risk, including alcohol monitoring at all risk levels, outpatient treatment for higher risk levels, and medical detoxification for the most severe cases.
“Our goal with this Bench Card is to educate judges, litigants, and law professionals who may not be familiar with AUD in order to help them make the best decisions possible,” said Joey Orduña Hastings, CEO at the NCJFCJ. “It will be a valuable resource to reach the desired outcomes of safe and supportive family connections, engagement, and stability for everyone involved.”
The Bench Card for AUD, authored by an esteemed panel of judges and forensic psychologists including Hon. Karen S. Adams (Ret.) and Stephanie Tabashneck, Psy.D., Esq., NCJFCJ, and the Soberlink Advisory Committee, is available for download at: https://www.ncjfcj.org/bench-cards/alcohol-use-disorder-aud/.