Social workers experiences of supporting children exposed to alcohol in utero: an interpretive phenomenological analysis

Louise Gordon
Children with a diagnosis of Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder are a vulnerable population, particularly within Social Services. With regards to adopting these children, there is evidence that children diagnosed with a disability can be more challenging to place due to adopter preferences. Aims: The study aims to understand and explore Social Workers experiences of supporting children with a (suspected) diagnosis of Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder within Adoption Social Services. Method: Using
more » ... i-structured interviews, five Social Workers were recruited from Adoption Social Services in the West of Scotland. Each interview was transcribed verbatim and data analysed using Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis. Results: There were four superordinate themes identified from the analysis: lack of knowledge and awareness, dealing with uncertainty, impact of the diagnosis and vulnerability. Three separate experiences of the adoption process were identified: the Social Workers experiences and the perceived experiences of the adoptive parents and the child with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder. Conclusion: The attitudes, experiences and decisions of the Social Worker affect the adoptive parent's journeys, and ultimately the future of the child. The findings are important because they demonstrate the need to focus on the child's diagnostic journey across both Health and Social Care settings to ensure consistency in the support offered to them, in line with the Scottish initiative of Health and Social Care Partnership. What this study adds: The findings highlight the potential negative attitudes, lack of understanding and stigma attached to the Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder diagnosis, placing these vulnerable children at a further disadvantage.
doi:10.5525/gla.thesis.73047 fatcat:fss5ycl5cvfzvgelj6z5rwni7u