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A Voice for Children

A Voice for Children

For the past thirty-two years, the National Association for Children of Alcoholics (NACoA) has been the voice for children and families impacted by the addiction of a loved one. Our mission is to eliminate the adverse impact of alcohol and drug use on children and families. We envision a world in which every child who suffers because of addiction in the family receives the right kind of support . . . a world in which children would grow up safe, happy, and healthy, without ever having to face the emotional anguish of family addiction. 


To help create such a world, NACoA partners with colleague organizations, with regional, national, and international affiliate organizations, and with profession-specific organizations to help imbue their memberships with the essential knowledge and skills to address the needs of those suffering from addiction whose lives they touch in their everyday professional responsibilities. Through modern technology NACoA has added the capacity to reach directly to those impacted with messages, tools, and support that can enhance our effectiveness in creating a world that provides hope and support to those most in need—the children who have always been the first hurt and last helped when addiction enters a family.  


New Website  


We invite you to visit our new website, which offers all the content and products you have expected to find there and much more. In addition to a new look, the updated site is offering more opportunities to become involved, an expanded education and training center with new and archived webinars, new online courses, a new comprehensive online seminary curriculum—Addiction and the Family—a blog featuring NACoA leaders, daily encouraging thoughts for adult children of alcoholics (ACOAs) and daily messages for youth, an expanded affiliate section, monthly activity sheets and games for children and teens, FAQs, articles by renowned writers, including many who have contributed to Counselor, and introductions and linkages to our colleague organizations.  


Current Programs and Projects


NACoA is partnering with the American Association of Pastoral Counselors and with the Entertainment Industries Council to provide its 2015 series of free webinars featuring renowned national leaders, thanks to a contract with SAMHSA’s Center for Substance Abuse Treatment. The webinars are focused on helping the “people in the pews” who are suffering in silence and hopelessness and on helping the clergy and pastoral staff to understand the faith community’s critical role in educating and providing support to their congregants who are waiting for their guidance and messages of hope and recovery. Presenters, dates, times, and registration information can be found on www.nacoa.org. 


The recognition that whole family recovery programs can be strong catalysts for reducing relapse and recidivism in individuals who are in the drug court or dependency court systems has precipitated a substantial growth in Celebrating Families!™(CF!), NACoA’s evidence-based curriculum and training program. The number of young women in these court systems who are pregnant and/or have young children has created a demand for family recovery programs that also address the zero to three population of babies and mothers. The California-based CF! development team has met that challenge for a 0-3 curriculum component. It is being tested, with promising results, at sites in Oklahoma, Iowa, and California. NACoA will begin publishing and distributing this addition as part of the total CF! program in mid-2015.


CF! had particularly strong growth in one state during 2014. NACoA provided extensive training and curriculum materials to local service providers throughout Oklahoma in collaboration with the state’s Office of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services. NACoA also provided two training of trainers in Oklahoma last year in order to assist in establishing a sustainability system for this important recovery support effort directed at breaking the multigenerational cycle of addiction in the affected families. The state has also trained service providers in the Strengthening Families program, and families mandated to services through the courts are now routinely getting both programs, which complement each other. Initial research reports are showing even more remarkable results with this dual program approach.
CF! is increasingly being recognized as a critical aftercare component to the continuing recovery support process following primary treatment. It is being offered through community-based family service agencies as well as through drug courts and addiction support. NACoA hosts a separate website for CF! at www.celebratingfamilies.net.


COA Week


Always celebrated nationally and internationally during the week in which Valentine’s Day falls, the annual Children of Alcoholics Week is February 8–14. NACoA’s affiliate in Germany, NACOA Deutschland, celebrated the week last year in over eighty locations across the country. They hosted lectures, marches, recovery celebrations, and awareness activities and obtained proclamations to observe the week. They received NACoA’s Meritorious Service award for their extraordinary efforts. Stateside, the mayor of Boston proclaimed the week for the fourth consecutive year. Readers can visit the COA Week section of www.nacoa.org for tools and suggestions for COA Week 2015.


Still No Safe Level of Alcohol during Pregnancy


“Responsible” alcohol use during pregnancy is finding some acceptance once again in the popular press. Yet, at the same time, a newly published study finds that rates of fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASD) among children may be significantly higher than previous estimates. 


A research team headed by Philip A. May, PhD, studied more than 1,400 first graders in a Midwestern city. Their findings, published by Pediatrics in the November 2014 journal, identify cases along the entire FASD spectrum in this general school population. Specifically, the rate of fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS) was found to be six to nine cases per one thousand children studied, and the prevalence of partial FAS (pFAS) cases ranged from eleven to seventeen cases per one thousand. Total cases of any form of FASD ranged from twenty-four to forty-eight cases per one thousand (May et al., 2014). 


NACoA urges pregnant women and those wishing to become pregnant to refrain from alcohol or other mood-altering drug use during the few short months of pregnancy to insure the healthiest child possible. 


May, P. A., Baete, A., Russo, J., Elliott, A. J., Blankenship, J., Kalberg, W. O., . . . Hoyme, H. E. (2014). Prevalence and characteristics of fetal alcohol spectrum disorders. Pediatrics. Retrieved from http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/early/2014/10/21/peds.2013-3319.abstract