Carver H (2019) The experiences of carers in using shared activities to communicate with looked-after young people about alcohol, tobacco, and drug use. Child and Family Social Work, 24 (1), pp. 131-138. https://doi.org/10.1111/cfs.12590
Parental conversations with their teenage children about alcohol, tobacco and drugs, are associated with lower rates of use. Looked after young people are at greater risk of early initiation, higher rates of use and more problematic use. However, there is no evidence regarding whether these conversations occur in settings where the parental role is assumed by someone other than the biological parent. The aim of the study was to examine how carers communicate with looked after young people about alcohol, tobacco and drug use. In-depth interviews were conducted with 16 residential care staff and foster carers in Scotland. Data were analysed using a thematic analysis approach. Participants talked about ‘shared doing’ as a way of building relationships and communicating about substance use. Shared doing encompassed particular activities that carers and young people would do together, such as driving in the car, cooking, watching TV and going for a walk. Shared doing provided an opportunity to spend time together and to create an environment in which communication could be facilitated. These environments were shaped by space, time and context. Carers should be encouraged to take advantage of the time-limited occasions they are with young people to have conversations about substance use.
Young people; substance use; foster care; residential care; communication
Child and Family Social Work: Volume 24, Issue 1