Tuesday, 4 September 2012

Engaging child welfare-involved families impacted by substance misuse: Scottish policies and practices

an article by Anne S. Robertson (Washington University in St. Louis, USA) and Wendy Haight (University of Minnesota, St. Paul, USA) published in Children and Youth Services Review Volume 34 Issue 10 (October 2012)


Parental substance misuse occurs worldwide and child welfare professionals struggle with how to help parents involved with substance misuse while keeping their children safe.

This study explores Scottish child welfare policies, beliefs and practices for engaging substance-involved families in child welfare services. Scottish approaches for engaging families are highly focused on child well‐being and relationship characteristics, prevention, resilience and recovery.

Additionally, Scotland’s devolution from the United Kingdom has created a rapidly changing political climate where considerable attention, new policies and initiatives have been directed toward Scottish problems and family well-being.

Many of these strategies are designed to change a deeply embedded problem of substance misuse, and considerable effort and resources have been targeted for long-term change.

Using a qualitative mixed-methods approach that incorporates in-depth interviews, observations, and document review this paper examines Scottish child welfare experts” experiences of working with parents impacted by substance misuse and the impact of new policies and programmes.

These initiatives are important to examine because, if successful, they may be helpful for understanding relational characteristics in other cultural contexts particularly those using holistic and differential approaches in child welfare.


► Relational social work characteristics within child welfare in Scotland.
► Culturally sensitive, innovative work with substance-involved families.
► The Children”s Hearing system and collective, community-based approaches.
► Relational characteristics and building trust with difficult families.
► Key practice attributes such as honesty, remaining calm, persistent, and listening.

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