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Parental skills training resources and services

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Mothers who use substances and implications for the care system: Desk-based literature review

Part of Northern Ireland social work and social care

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.

Reaching parents: implementing parenting programmes

This briefing provides guidance on improving take-up of parenting programmes. It highlights findings of a follow-up study which involved talking to frontline practitioners about their experience of providing parenting programmes.

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