Journal Article

Exploring the Impact of Parental Drug/Alcohol Problems on Children and Parents in a Midlands County in 2005/06

Claire Fraser, Annie McIntyre and Martin Manby

in The British Journal of Social Work

Published on behalf of British Association of Social Workers

Volume 39, issue 5, pages 846-866
Published in print July 2009 | ISSN: 0045-3102
Published online March 2008 | e-ISSN: 1468-263X | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/bjsw/bcn016
Exploring the Impact of Parental Drug/Alcohol Problems on Children and Parents in a Midlands County in 2005/06

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This paper reports on a small-scale research project which used semi-structured interviews and a ‘Draw and Write’ technique to explore the views of parents/carers and children and young people about the impact of parental substance use and implications for services. It was found that most adult participants recognized their need for help and had obtained treatment for their drug/alcohol use. They were often ambivalent or self-critical about their abilities as parents and had tried to combine their substance use with ensuring that the basic needs of their children had been met. Access to methadone prescriptions had helped stabilize the lives of those who had previously been heroin users, and parents' wishes to look after their children properly, or to resume their care, were a powerful motivator for them to stop using drugs/alcohol. The children in the study, who displayed considerable resilience, were aware of the emotional turmoil caused by their parents' substance use and they saw social workers as important people in their lives. It was also found that families in the study either needed substantial help from their extended family, or from social services (now Children's Social Care), or both. The implications of the study for professionals supporting substance-using families are highlighted.

Keywords: Parents; children; drugs; alcohol; substance use

Journal Article.  7624 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Social Work

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