Difficulties facing Irish grandparents with drug-dependent children
Alcohol and drug misuse care orders
A recent report from the new Child Care Law Reporting Project found that in 18.6% of cases studied, social workers listed parental alcohol or drug misuse as the main reason for seeking a care order from the courts.
The role of addiction services
According to the National Family Support Network (NFSN), in the absence of explicit protocols for collaborative, integrated responses to the needs of children of problem drug users, adult addiction services do not appear to see themselves as having a major role in relation to the children of their clients, and child protection social workers do not appear to see themselves as having a major role to play in relation to parents’ drug problems.
A recent piece of research by the NFSN entitled: 'Caring for Grandchildren in Kinship Care: What Difficulties Face Irish Grandparents with Drug-Dependent Children?' focuses on the experience of Irish grandparents providing full-time care for grandchildren whose birth parents were drug-dependent.
The research was conducted by Megan O’Leary, NFSN Community Development Worker, and Shane Butler, PHD, Associate Professor, School of Social Work and Social Policy, Trinity College, Dublin.
It has been recently published in the Journal of Social Work Practice in the Addictions.
A common feature of clients of the NFSN and its member agencies has been the assumption of full-time child care responsibilities by grandparents as a result of parental substance misuse.
Below is a video interview with the research authors and a video of a story by Maureen Penrose.
Maureen talks about her experience of caring for her grandchildren in this situation.
Video: Interview with research authors
Video: Grandmothers, by Maureen Penrose