Working together to support families where a parent uses alcohol and/or other drugs

Working together to support families where a parent uses alcohol and/or other drugs

Debbie Scott, Shalini Arunogiri and Emma Bergwever
25 November 2020

This webinar explored opportunities for using collaborative, family-inclusive approaches to support families where a parent uses alcohol and/or other drugs.

Group of entrepreneurs and business people sitting at the table and discussing potential cooperation and joint projects. Board members talking to young job candidate.

This webinar was held on Wednesday, 25 November 2020. Please post your questions and comments below.

A full recording of the webinar and related resources, including slides, audio and a transcript, will be published soon. Please subscribe to our newsletter to receive a notification when these resources are available.

Families where a parent uses alcohol and/or other drugs (AOD) may need a range of different supports, including from child protection and family support services. Research indicates that when collaboration between these agencies is limited, families are at greater risk of falling through the gaps. 

This webinar built on the learnings from Collaborative practice in child and family welfare: Building practitioners’ competence, focusing on the opportunities that family-inclusive approaches offer in supporting families where a parent uses AOD. In particular, this webinar  outlined:

  • Research evidence on the intersections between parental AOD use and child protection concerns
  • Principles and values that underpin the practice of professionals working in AOD and child protection
  • Opportunities and strategies for building cross-sector empathy and working together.

Drawing on case studies developed through a recent Turning Point survey, presenters will reflect on ways that collaboration between AOD and child and family welfare services can help to ensure families get the support they need.

This event is of interest to professionals working in the fields of AOD, domestic and family violence, child protection, family relationship services and related services.

Related resources


Featured image: © GettyImages/Drazen_

About the presenters

Debbie Scott

Debbie is the Strategic Lead for the National Addiction and Mental Health Surveillance Unit at Turning Point. She is a public health researcher with a nursing background and applies that perspective to the use of data to inform the development of policy and prevention strategies. Her research focuses on surveillance methodologies and the use of surveillance data to improve the understanding of the role of alcohol and other drugs in intentional injury (e.g. family violence, child maltreatment and suicide and self-harm), thereby reducing harms associated with their intersections. Debbie has collaborated with the World Health Organization (WHO), UNICEF and the International Society for Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect (ISPCAN) on data quality issues and surveillance methodologies. Debbie is a member of the Australasian Injury Prevention Network (AIPN) Executive and the Chair of the AIPN Subcommittee on Alcohol and Drug Related Injury.

Shalini Arunogiri

Shalini is an addiction psychiatrist and clinical researcher. She is Deputy Clinical Director at Turning Point, a national addiction treatment and research centre, where she leads a multidisciplinary team of over 50 clinicians delivering addiction treatment across telephone, online and face-to-face modalities. Shalini is a Senior Lecturer and Deputy Head of the Department of Psychiatry at Central Clinical School, Monash University. She is also Chair of the RANZCP Binational Faculty of Addiction Psychiatry. Her clinical and research interests include methamphetamine use and related mental health problems, and women’s health and addictive disorders.

Emma Bergwever

Emma is the Practice Leader for Mental Health with Queensland's Department of Child Safety, Youth and Women. In this role she supports the development of resources, knowledge and skills to strengthen practice in working with children and families experiencing difficulties with mental health and mental illness. In her work, Emma particularly enjoys working with large professional stakeholder groups where there are strong and divergent opinions. In these instances she draws on her social work framework and knowledge and skills to engage group energy to focus on the collective interests of children's safety and wellbeing to bring about shared and effective plans for action. Along with her social work training, Emma holds a Bachelor of Arts and Masters of Public Health. Prior to her service with Child Safety, she worked in a variety of roles in child and youth mental health services. She is a strong advocate for practitioners in the field, and is passionate about the role of supervision, capability development and fair and just organisational cultures in enhancing outcomes for children and families.