‘Voices of a sample of Irish young people affected by parental substance misuse and parents with a substance misuse issue: Uncovering harm and system fragmentation
Kearney, Fiona (2017) ‘Voices of a sample of Irish young people affected by parental substance misuse and parents with a substance misuse issue: Uncovering harm and system fragmentation. Other thesis, Dublin City University.
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This research attempts to remedy a neglect of the voices of Irish young people affected by parental substance misuse and parents with a substance misuse issue from an area experiencing social and educational inequality. It challenges the idea that they are a ‘hard to reach’ group in research terms. A qualitative methodology was utilised involving a phenomenological approach to interview 7 young people affected by parental substance misuse and 6 parents with a substance misuse issue. The fragmented nature of service provision emerges as a key finding. The gulf between Irish policy statements, objectives and goals and actual services received by children and families is outlined. Outreach approaches and lead practitioner roles are cited as helpful. Unmet physical and emotional care needs are recalled as impacting on children and young people’s participation in education. Notwithstanding these challenges, the majority of young people and all the parents describe strong parent-child relationships and the desire for parental rearing emerges as a key finding. Another key finding relates to the challenges of being in, and staying in school, including the perceived clash in approach and experience between primary and secondary school and the significance of school relations and atmosphere.
Key issues for system development which arise include: an intensive family outreach model in the contexts of early school leaving prevention targeting children affected by parental substance misuse, young carers, homeless children and supporting parental rearing; ancillary services and supports including nursing, psychological and care staff supports and food and laundry provision in and around schools; professional development for secondary school teachers in cognisance of the potential of the school and the teacher as a protective factor; trauma informed drugs services for parents and programmes that support parent child communication in relation to substance misuse.
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