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How to capture the experience of mothers with alcohol problems involved in English family court proceedings – lessons from the field

How to capture the experience of mothers with alcohol problems involved in English family court... It proved difficult to recruit sufficient mothers to a prospective cohort study designed to explore the factors and characteristics of mothers whose children are the subject of the public care system as a result of their drinking, retaining or losing care of their children. In conducting interviews instead with social workers in six local authorities, the repurposed study aimed to explore their views of the barriers and facilitators to involving this “hard to reach” population of mothers in research at the beginning of care proceedings.Design/methodology/approachFor this study, 36 semi-structured telephone interviews were conducted with child and family social workers and social work managers located in six English local authorities. Transcripts were analysed using Nvivo and coded thematically.FindingsWorkforce issues and social work workload, court timescales and the additional burden that participating in research at a time of enormous stress for mothers were described as barriers to recruitment. Social workers suggested that the criteria for including participants could be widened to include mothers in pre-proceedings and that recruitment could take place via substance use services with whom mothers do not have an antagonistic relationship.Research limitations/implicationsThe perspective of social work practitioners and not mothers themselves on barriers to engagement in research is a limitation of the study. Innovative and flexible research design is needed to include the participation of mothers whose alcohol use has led to court proceedings in research.Originality/valueFew studies have investigated the barriers and facilitators to engaging mothers in research at the point that care proceedings have been issued. The re-purposed study highlighted the particular stresses on mothers and social workers and made recommendations for alternative strategies for recruiting these mothers and representing their experience in research. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Advances in Dual Diagnosis Emerald Publishing

How to capture the experience of mothers with alcohol problems involved in English family court proceedings – lessons from the field

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Publisher
Emerald Publishing
Copyright
© Emerald Publishing Limited
ISSN
1757-0972
DOI
10.1108/add-11-2019-0015
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

It proved difficult to recruit sufficient mothers to a prospective cohort study designed to explore the factors and characteristics of mothers whose children are the subject of the public care system as a result of their drinking, retaining or losing care of their children. In conducting interviews instead with social workers in six local authorities, the repurposed study aimed to explore their views of the barriers and facilitators to involving this “hard to reach” population of mothers in research at the beginning of care proceedings.Design/methodology/approachFor this study, 36 semi-structured telephone interviews were conducted with child and family social workers and social work managers located in six English local authorities. Transcripts were analysed using Nvivo and coded thematically.FindingsWorkforce issues and social work workload, court timescales and the additional burden that participating in research at a time of enormous stress for mothers were described as barriers to recruitment. Social workers suggested that the criteria for including participants could be widened to include mothers in pre-proceedings and that recruitment could take place via substance use services with whom mothers do not have an antagonistic relationship.Research limitations/implicationsThe perspective of social work practitioners and not mothers themselves on barriers to engagement in research is a limitation of the study. Innovative and flexible research design is needed to include the participation of mothers whose alcohol use has led to court proceedings in research.Originality/valueFew studies have investigated the barriers and facilitators to engaging mothers in research at the point that care proceedings have been issued. The re-purposed study highlighted the particular stresses on mothers and social workers and made recommendations for alternative strategies for recruiting these mothers and representing their experience in research.

Journal

Advances in Dual DiagnosisEmerald Publishing

Published: Feb 28, 2020

Keywords: Alcohol; Staff attitudes; Female; Treatment

References