Report: Support for mothers affected by substance use

Published: 15 Mar 2018

Report: Support for mothers affected by substance use

Mothers and pregnant women affected by substance use should be given access to residential recovery programs, according to a new report by Lyndsay Fraser Robertson, a family outreach worker from Edinburgh who spent six weeks in the USA last year conducting research in this area. Her travels were enabled by a Churchill Fellowship, in partnership with the Dulverton Trust.

While in the USA, Lyndsay spent time in Washington State and Connecticut, visiting hospital-based services, residential recovery services and community visiting services. She also spoke with several academics in the field whilst at Yale University’s Child Study Centre.

Lyndsay was impressed by residential services that allowed mothers and their children to stay together, observing that they allow mothers time to recover and practice healthy coping skills in a safe, stable and supervised environment. Intensive parenting interventions can be provided alongside treatment.

“Mothers present with a different set of needs to single male substance users and this is not always acknowledged in community drug treatment services. I wanted to visit services that kept mothers and their children together safely. Allowing mother and child to maintain a positive attachment to each other will influence how the child goes on to form other attachments in their life. The UK would benefit from more integrated substance use treatment with family support services” – Lyndsay Fraser Robertson

Now back in the UK, Lyndsay has already begun presenting findings from her Churchill Fellowship to networks in her local area and she has been asked to present at conferences across the UK. Lyndsay's employer Circle, a charity supporting disadvantaged children and families across Scotland, will explore funding to implement recommendations from her report later this year.

Read Lyndsay’s report here

The Dulverton Trust

The Dulverton Trust is an independent grant-making charity that award grants to a wide range of national or multi-regional charities operating mainly in England, Scotland or Wales. It is particularly interested in supporting charities carrying out practical early years intervention.