Drugs focus for social work research unit

A new £1.1m research centre for social work and social care is to focus on improving interventions for people with drug and alcohol problems.

The Tilda Goldberg Centre for Social Work and Social Care at the University of Bedfordshire will cover the whole sector, but its initial work will focus on substance misuse, including work with children, families, older people and those with mental health problems.

The news follows the publication of a Home-Office funded study earlier this year that found newly-qualified social workers felt inadequately prepared to work with people with substance misuse problems.

The centre’s assistant director, Sarah Galvani, who wrote the study, said: “Our research with social workers on the front line has shown that they need and want more support for working with people with alcohol and drug problems because of the gaps in qualifying training. This programme of work is intended to build the evidence base in order to support practitioners.”

Centre director Donald Forrester said he hoped it would increase the volume and quality of research and “have a visible effect in improving practice”.

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