Research Abstracts: Substance Misuse

Title: Evaluating the effects of comprehensive substance abuse intervention on successful reunification
Author: Brook, Jody; McDonald, Thomas P
Reference: Research on Social Work Practice, 17(6), November 2007, pp664-673

This study examines permanency outcomes of families with children in foster care who participated in a comprehensive service-delivery programme to assist families and communities deal with alcohol and other drug (AOD) problems.

Survival analysis is used to measure the impact of programme participation on family reunification and re-entry of children into foster care. The results found that, contrary to initial expectations, participants move more slowly to reunification, although the group differences are not statistically significantly different, and re-entry rates are significantly higher among those children whose parents participate in this service. AOD abuse recovery is a long-term process. More intensive service interventions may not automatically produce better permanency outcomes.

Title: Parental substance misuse and child care social work: findings from the first stage of a study of 100 families.
Author: Forrester, Donald; Harwin, Judith
Reference: Child and Family Social Work, 11(4), November 2006, pp325-335

Parental misuse of drugs or alcohol is known to be a common issue for child care social workers, yet there has been
surprisingly little UK research on the topic. The study reported here attempts to address this gap. All files going for long-term allocation in four London boroughs over one year were examined.

Families where there was substance misuse were more vulnerable on several measures: the children were younger, the parents had more individual problems and the families lived in more difficult social situations. Parental substance misuse accounted for 62% of all children subject to care proceedings and 40% of those placed on the child protection register. Substance misuse specialists were rarely involved in working with families, primarily because parents said that they did not think that they had a problem.

Title: Coping with alcohol and drug problems: the experiences of family members in three contrasting cultures
Author: Orford, Jim et al
Publisher: Routledge, 2005

This book aims to deepen and extend understanding of the experiences of family members trying to cope with the excessive drinking or drug taking of a relative. The book draws on the results of the cross-cultural study of alcohol and drug problems in the family, and places these results within the broader context of the international literature on the subject.

By investigating the similarities and differences in the experiences of family members in three parts of the world, the authors reveal results which have far-reaching implications for professional intervention and prevention. Subjects covered include: models of understanding: how families continue to be pathologised and misunderstood how family members cope an integrated view of alcohol and drug problems in the family and ways of empowering family members.


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