13 years of practice wisdom
The content of this Toolbox has been created using our evidence-based knowledge about what works with young people experiencing problematic substance use. This has been combined with the practice wisdom gained through providing support and care for young parents with AOD issues in the Southern Metropolitian region of Melbourne over the past 13 years. The Young Parents Project (YPP) has supported over 1000 young people, utilising the practice approaches described in this Toolbox.
Some practitioners feel daunted by the responsibility of supporting a young person who may be pregnant or parenting, who is also using drugs or alcohol. They may feel they do not have the necessary expertise or it may seem too medically complicated, and the first response may be to refer on. However, where there is an existing positive working relationship, a practitioner may use the information in this Toolbox as a guide (along with their supervisor), and become an essential part of the young person’s process at navigating this new experience.
Substance use and parenting
Young people, especially those who have had adverse life experiences, may find the responsibilities and pressure of parenting overwhelming at times. This is why the supports and resources around them need to be in place prior to things getting to be too much. The young person may be able to make an informed, safety-conscious decision about their substance use, if they have the right people and resources in their lives, rather than substance use arising from them feeling unable to manage stress or meet their needs in more constructive ways.
Child and Family inclusive care
This Toolbox, and the Young Parents Project (YPP) that informs it, comes from a practice approach that strives to include the child, the parent (young person) and their family in all aspects of care planning and support. This involves taking a great deal of time and care to listen to the young person, their child or children, and all of the people who support them. This approach increases the likelihood that connections and interventions put in place will be effective and last.