Support and Advocacy Needs on Merseyside for Parents who Misuse Substances in Respect of Children's Welfare and Child Protection Concerns

  • David Hicks

Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis


This thesis explores implications of support and advocacy with substance-misusing women during and after pregnancy in promoting parental involvement and children’s welfare within the regulatory child care framework. It is uniquely situated in relation to social construction, juridification of family lifeworlds, relations of power, and theorisation of an enabling process informed by a rights discourse that facilitates communicative action. Chapter 1 introduces the rationale for this research and contextualises the work of the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children’s (NSPCC) Liverpool Families and Substance Support Team (FaSST) service for substance-misusing parents. It utilises observation evidence, outlining FaSST’s relationship to wider professional and agency networks. An expanded overview of chapter organisation makes the distinctiveness of this exploratory research clear; as it relates theory and practice within the previously little researched area of advocacy with substance misusing parents to promote the best interests of children’s welfare. Chapter 2 develops issues of social construction, identity, risk and relations of power vi affecting substance misusing parents within the modern state. Chapter 3 considers the development of child protection, children’s safeguarding, actuarialism and issues of governance. Chapter 4 examines Habermas’ theory of communicative action, rights discourses and how support and advocacy might develop. Remaining chapters examine research fieldwork. Chapter 5 explains the qualitative research design, research method and ethical considerations. Chapter 6 analyses data in terms of governance and risk and tentatively theorises those matters, and chapter 7 analyses data and theorises possibilities for support and advocacy. Chapter 8 formulates conclusions regarding how the FaSST has addressed parents’ concerns and promoted involvement in their children’s interests within the regulatory child care framework. It theorises support and advocacy in that context, and it identifies implications for its further development.
Date of Award18 Jun 2014
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • Edge Hill University


  • risk
  • power
  • communicative action
  • rationality
  • advocacy
  • substance misuse
  • parents
  • children

Cite this