This report reviews what has been identified in literature in relation to mothers who use drugs and alcohol, and any implications for the family support system. Five research database were searched, including Social Care Online, along with specific websites relevant to Northern Ireland. The review examined the implications of not keeping a family together where a mother is using drugs or alcohol; what support needs to be in place; what practical resources support social workers and care workers; and any key lessons and implications for Family Support Hubs. Findings cover: context of mothers' substance use including stigma and repeat removals; impacts on the care system and family members; interventions and approaches; which factors help interventions work well and create an enabling environment; factors to consider when making child protection decisions and assessing risk. Key findings include: there is a dearth of literature about the additional impacts/costs to the care system and there is not enough research evidence to clearly identify which interventions help prevent parents from losing care of their children when substance use is an issue. There is an emerging evidence base for Family Drug and Alcohol Courts (FDACs) and a number of interventions that focus on improving parenting practices and family functioning and which provide comprehensive services likely to work well. In addition, positive approaches or ways of working with women with substance use problems include providing services that are gender-responsive, trauma informed, strengths-based, relationship-based, collaborative and family-centred.
Intervention resources and services
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This issue is about working with families to protect children
Three members of the No Wrong Door team in Norfolk reflect on the journey to establish New Roads and how it has affected their practice and how they feel about their work.
In this article, Siobhan explains the role that coaching plays in supporting practitioners and leaders as they adopt and adapt innovations in Strengthening Families.
In this short film team members at The Lighthouse share their thoughts and reflections on No Wrong Door in Warrington.
This issue of the Strengthening Families Learning Journal looks at how the three innovations are changing the way practitioners in the children’s social care workforce do their work and the conditions in which they are working.
This is the first issue of Strengthening Families – the quarterly journal for people working in children’s social care, dedicated to capturing learning from the Strengthening Families Protecting Children (SFPC) programme.
Part of Reablement
Read SCIE's briefing on the role and principles of reablement in the social care sector.
A practice framework to support social workers in Northern Ireland to develop a better understanding of housing and homelessness and the skills needed to provide effective support. Section A of the framework looks at understanding homelessness. It provides information on the different types of homelessness, the legislative and policy context, the risk factors for homelessness, and the impact it can have on people's health and wellbeing. Section B highlights how social work skills and approaches can be used to prevent and tackle homelessness more effectively. These include using relationship-based, strengths-based, and values-based practice, being alert to the possibility of discrimination against people who experience homelessness, and working with other agencies. Two individual case studies are included.
Part of Strengths-based approaches
The Care Act 2014 puts a strengths-based approach at the centre of someone’s assessment, care and support
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