Chemical dependency is an issue that can affect an individual’s ability to parent their children.  If an individual does not have control over their addiction, it can be unsafe to put children in their care without any safeguards in place or supervision from a third party.

Child Safety Centers

Often when chemical dependency is a problem in a family law case, the parent who has a problem with dependency is subject to testing and other restrictions that are meant to keep the children safe.  If the dependency issue is not under control at all, parenting time may take place at a supervised center such as the Children’s Safety Centers where professionals are able to help monitor the situation and make sure the children are being taken care of and are not exposed to any bad behaviors or poor judgment on the part of the parent.

In cases where chemical dependency is an issue but may be under more control, restrictions are still often put in place but parenting time can take place outside of a center.  In these cases, there is often some kind of drug testing done at the court or at a location such as Minnesota Monitoring.  This can be hair follicle tests which can go back further in time to check for drug use; EtG testing, which can test for substance use in the past few days; and breathalyzer testing, which can determine if the parent is currently under the influence of alcohol.  If breathalyzers are used, they are often done just before and just after parenting time to make sure that the children are in a safe environment.  These tests may be used in conjunction with supervision by another party, but often it is not required that it occur in a supervised center.


If testing is necessary in a case, it does not mean that it will continue until the child reaches age 18.  If an individual is able to comply with the court’s requirements and has no positive tests for a period of time, then the court may lift the restrictions on parenting time.  However, the main concern is not the personal freedom and privacy of the parent with a chemical dependency issue, but rather for the safety and welfare of the children involved.