Social Workers FASD 'Insight' paper – Dec 2022

Scottish social charity Iriss published an 'Insight' research paper for social workers, specifically focusing on FASD, on 14 December 2022.

It acknowledges similar problems to the ones we experience here in Aotearoa NZ: "Anecdotally, social workers rate their knowledge and understanding of FASD as low and would not ordinarily know how to upskill themselves. This Insight is one step toward addressing that gap by covering the long-term impacts of FASD and how social work involvement can support better outcomes for people. Social work support can be preventative, and thereby, reduce escalation, avoid longer-term problems, and help break cycles of vulnerability, marginalisation and adversity.

In an ideal world, social workers would, in the name of social justice, be at the forefront of primary prevention. Unfortunately, that ideal world is not necessarily, or usually, the one where most social workers live and work. Frequently, social workers enter the picture ‘after the fact’; that is, once harm has already occurred. Then, the priority is to intervene quickly and decisively to help those affected and to ameliorate the adverse circumstances."

Key points

  • Given the prevalence, severity and impact of fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASDs) on individuals and communities, there should be better social work knowledge and understanding of, as well as support for, these disorders
  • Social workers can play a more positive role in the prevention and identification of FASD, as well as in services supporting those affected by it
  • Increased awareness and learning opportunities, and more encouragement and resources are necessary for social workers to fulfil their potential in this field

Click here to access the full Insight from Iriss.