By April Ferguson, LCSW-C, NASW Senior Practice Associate for Children and Adolescents
NASW continues its collaboration with Sesame Workshop (SW) and recently partnered for a roundtable discussion regarding parental addiction. SW is a nonprofit impact organization whose mission is to help children everywhere grow smarter, stronger, and kinder. Through its social impact initiatives, SW creates resources for young children, families, and providers that bring awareness and research-based guidance to help problem-solve tough issues impacting children.
The purpose of the roundtable was to examine SW’s existing content related to substance use, identify any gaps in material, determine the best way for providers to leverage the information in professional practice and to increase awareness of the resources in partnership with organizations such as NASW.
Nine panelists representing a variety of organizations and expertise participated in the discussion and offered insights on parental addiction. The panelist discussed content development that considers ages and stages of development and best practices in addressing the impacts of substance use on children. NASW presented the social work perspective in addressing substance use and highlighted the workforces’ impact in treatment and child welfare settings. NASW made three content recommendations that would assist social workers in educating and treating families impacted by addiction.
- Develop resources that guide caregivers and professionals in conversations with children about overdose deaths.
- Create content that depicts interactions with social workers and other vital helping professionals in the field of recovery and addiction.
- Identify how current and future SW resources can integrate into existing treatment modalities such as trauma focused cognitive behavioral therapy.
Information and recommendations from the panel discussion will help SW staff develop content and conduct additional on-the-ground research as next steps.
SW currently has helpful online resources at Parental Addiction that include videos, interactive activities, and professional development to assist providers and families to understand and manage the impact of parental addiction on young children. The content includes examples of healthy coping skills such as storying-telling, meditation, and deep breathing. There are also examples of lived experiences that highlight a family’s journey to recovery. The resources are fun, age appropriate, and relevant to social work practice. Several panelists indicated the benefit of the resources in various treatment and education settings. Consider viewing and utilizing the tools in your practice area!