Risks in Child Birth for Mothers Using Illicit Substances


Identify the risks involved for a child prior to birth from a mother who is using illicit substances, and as the allocated Social Worker outline how you would ensure the safety of the newly born child.

Essay details

  • 1,500 words
  • Answer both parts of the question with both weighing the same marks.
  • Use Irish research where appropriate and in terms of allocated Social Worker relate style of practice and frameworks in the Irish context. (TUSLA employed Social Worker).
  • 10 references as appropriate. Use variety of different mediums of sources.
  • Harvard referencing

Recommended readings

  • Agass, D. (2005) The containing function of supervision in working with abuse in Bower, M. (2005) Psychoanalytical Theory for Social Work Practice: Thinking under fire. Oxfordshire: Routledge. Pgs:185-196
  • Carruth,B. (2006)  Psychological Trauma and Addiction Treatment,  New York: The Haworth Press.
  • Centre, D. W. W., 2019. Dealing with a Crisis (or Unplanned) Pregnancy. [Online]
    Available at: info@wellwomancentre.ie
  • Department of Children and Youth Affairs (2011) Children First: National Guidance for the Protection and Welfare of Children. Dublin: Government Publications
  • Executive, H. S. (2019, August 23). Alcohol and pregnancy. Retrieved from Ask about alcohol.ie: https://www.askaboutalcohol.ie/health/alcohol-and-pregnancy/?utm_source=broadcast&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=pregnancy_alcohol&utm_term=leave%20blank&utm_content=staff%20campaign
  • European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (2012) Pregnancy Child Care and the Family: Key issues for Europe’s response to Drugs. www.emcdda.europa.eu
  • Klee, H., Jackson, M. and Lewis, S. (2002) Drug Misuse and Motherhood London:Routledge.
  •  HSE (2016) Crisis Pregnancy Counselling Skills: A Practice Guide, published by HSE Crisis
  • Pregnancy Programme.
  • HSE Ask About Alcohol.ie. (2021). Pregnancy and Alcohol. Retrieved from HSE.ie: https://www.hse.ie/eng/about/who/healthwellbeing/our-priority-programmes/alcohol-programme/pregnancy-and-alcohol-leaflet.pdf
  • National Institute of Drug Abuse. (2014) How does heroin use affect pregnant women? www.drugabuse.gov/publications/reaserch-reports
  • Pediatrics, A. A. (2014, August 23). Adverse Childhood Experiences and the Lifelong Consequences of Trauma. Retrieved from American Academy of Pediatrics : https://www.aap.org/en-us/Documents/ttb_aces_consequences.pdf
  • Simon, P. (2009) Early Trauma, its Potential Impact on the Childbearing Woman, and the Role of the Midwife. www.midwiferytoday.com
  • The Women’s Health Council (2009) Women & Substance Misuse in Ireland: Overview. Dublin: Women’s Health Council

              Vichithra Liyanage-Zachariah, P., & Kelly Harding, P. (2019). Canada FASD Research Network, Laurentian University, Ontario, Canada. Retrieved August 10, 2021, from https://canfasd.ca/wp-content/uploads/publications/Fathers-Role-1-Issue-Paper-Final.pdf pg. 1

  • Woods, M. (2000a) The Value of the Strengths Perspective in Understanding and Responding to Alcohol and Drug Problems. Irish Social Worker, Summer Edition.  pgs:20-22.
  • Woods, M. (2007) Keeping Mum: A Qualitative Study of Women Drug Users Experience of   
  •  Preserving Motherhood in Dublin – Unpublished PhD Thesis. Department of Social Work and Social Policy, Trinity College Dublin.
  • Whittaker, A. (2003) Substance Misuse in Pregnancy: a resource pack for professionals in        Lothian, Edinburgh: NHS Lothian.
  •  http://www.nhslothian.scot.nhs.uk/news/publications/substance_mis_preg.pdf

Journal Articles

Conceptualizing stigma in contexts of pregnancy and opioid misuse

abstract of a paper from the journal Drug and Alcohol Dependence (https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0376871621001721).

Estimating perceived parental substance use disorder

abstract of a paper from the journal Addictive Behaviours (https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0306460321000824).

Risk of child removal by child protective services

abstract of a paper from the Journal of Social Work Practice in the Addictions (https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/1533256X.2021.1903687).

Prenatal Substance Exposure and Child Maltreatment

abstract of a paper from a recent edition of the journal Child Maltreatment (https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/1077559521990116).


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