What matters to parents with problematic substance use and their children?

Lunchtime presentations
Thursday 26 July, 1200


Anne Tidyman
Odyssey House Victoria

What matters most to families with problematic parental substance use? How can researchers, policy makers and service providers use the answer to this question to drive reform in a practice environment that is arguably risk averse, punitive and mired in a justice framework? Through a short documentary, this presentation by Odyssey House Victoria’s Kids in Focus program allows mothers with problematic substance use and their children to speak about what matters to them and to describe how they want services to work with them.
The presentation will consider what we might do differently to change the dominant paradigm that drives responses to substance use and parenting if we not only actively listened, but also had the courage to be guided by parents and children. An interactive process, with audience participation, will explore how the establishment of a trusting therapeutic relationship could lead to a reduction in mutual anxiety between a child welfare system fearful of parents harming children and parents fearful of children being removed from their care. The presentation will encourage participants to have the boldness and curiosity to imagine what sustainable change led by families might look like.