Back in April I looked at the number of young people in the care system that were identified as needing treatment for substance misuse. The bald figures were that 1 in 29 young people in care were identified as needing treatment, which compares to 1 in 240 amongst the general population.
One of the questions I asked was whether the system is good at identifying need and acting on those needs.
A new report from the University of Bedfordshire, published on the Alcohol Research UK website, suggests that social workers aren’t getting the level of training they feel they need in this area.
The key finding seems to be that there is no consistency in how drug and alcohol education is delivered to trainee social workers, with three quarters of respondents saying that they felt there wasn’t sufficient focus on the issue in what was provided.
Looking at the detailed report I can’t find any reference to preventing drug and alcohol misuse though this may be included in the modules that look at how to talk about alcohol and other drugs. By contrast there are courses that talk about treatment interventions.
In children and family modules the topics that are reported as being covered most often are:
- Impact on children and families and parenting
- Identifying problematic alcohol use
- How to assess risk relating to drug or alcohol issues
- Working with or referring to specialist alcohol and/or drug workers
- Reasons people use and misuse substances
The University of Bedford have what look like a number of useful resources on their website including:
- Using substance use research tools to promote learning and teaching – developed to evaluate how child and family social workers talk to parents about alcohol issues and child welfare concerns
- What works in training social workers about drug and alcohol use? – unfortunately there doesn’t seem to be anything about preventing substance misuse.
Other papers can be downloaded here.