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Title: Working with Families with Parental Mental Health and/or Drug and Alcohol Issues Where There are Child Protection Concerns: Inter-Agency Collaboration
Authors: Coates, Dominiek 
Issue Date: May-2015
Journal title: Child & Family Social Work
Abstract: Child abuse commonly occurs within the context of multiple risk factors, in particular parental mental health and/or drug and alcohol problems. As no one agency can address all these factors, inter- agency collaboration is paramount to the protection of vulnerable children, especially in families with a complex array of problems.This paper outlines a range of recommendations to improve collaboration between child protection workers and mental health/drug & alcohol (MH/D&A) clinicians from the perspective of Keep Them Safe-Whole Family Team (KTS-WFT) clinicians. Taking referrals from child pro- tection, the KTS-WFT offers interventions to families with parental MH/D&A problems where there are child protection concerns. As part of a larger evaluation of a KTS-WFT site, 10 KTS-WFT clinicians participated in in-depth interviews. Analysis of the interviews identi- fied collaboration with child protection as a primary theme. Partici- pants reported a number of barriers to effective collaboration; in particular, participants reported challenges with information sharing and confidentiality, inconsistency in terms of the level and style of collaboration, tensions between the different theoretical paradigms that underpin practice for MH/D&A clinicians vs. child protection workers, and insufficient clarity around processes and expectations. Consistent with the identified barriers, primary recommendations to improve collaboration were to improve information sharing, over- come silo ways of thinking, manage risk together more consistently, and develop consistent processes and expectations.
DOI: 10.1111/cfs.12238
ISSN: 13567500
Publicaton type: Journal Article
Keywords: Mental Health
Health Service Development
Drug and Alcohol
Appears in Collections:Mental Health

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