Lack of training in substance misuse criticised

Delegates at the Baaf Adoption and Fostering conference heard
this week that it was a “shocking oversight” that the
new social work degree did not include compulsory training about
substance misuse, writes Amy Taylor.

Donald Forrester, lecturer in social work, Goldsmith’s
College, University of London, said that training in substance
misuse for all child care social workers needed to be a priority
due to the large number of parents with drug and alcohol

The second stage of research produced by Forrester looking at
all parental substance misuse cases dealt with by social services
in four London local authorities found that most of the social
workers covered said they had had relatively little substance
misuse training on their courses and hardly any since

Forrester also asked delegates to treat alcohol misuse by
parents at least as seriously as drug misuse. The first stage of
the research, both stages of which were funded by the Nuffield
Foundation, found that although parents’ alcohol misuse
caused the most harm to children social services acted much more
urgently if drugs were involved.

The second stage of the study looked at the situation two years
after cases had been referred to social services. It found that 54
per cent of children involved no longer lived with their

The second stage of the research, which was also carried out by
Judith Harwin, professor of social work, director of
Interdisciplinary Child Focused Research Centre, Brunel University,
is not yet published.


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