Tami Samish-Nemlich ( School of Social Work, Tel-Aviv University)
Prof. Mooli Lahad, The Community Stress Prevention Center, Kiryat Shmona, Israel; Department of Psychology, Tel Hai Academic College, Kiryat Shmona, Israel.
Dr. Dori Rubinstein, The Community Stress Prevention Center, Kiryat Shmona, Israel.
Topic: Pioneering Intervention Program for Parents in the Child Welfare System who Suffer from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
Studies show that the percentage of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) among parents in child protective welfare systems is significantly higher than the percentage in the general population. In the last decade we have seen extensive research evidence linking PTSD and impaired parenting, children’s behavior problems, children’s emotional difficulties and children’s risk of exposure to trauma. At the same time, it seems that no policy guidelines or focused intervention programs aimed at the detection and treatment of PTSD for parents in child protective welfare systems have been established. In consequence, parents are referred to parenting-focused services that do not address the root need for PTSD treatment, and thus may find it difficult to improve their parenting.
In response to this problem, in 2021 a pioneering experimental project was initiated in a peripheral area of Israel, in the form of a partnership between an entrepreneurial social worker, an international specialist in trauma treatment, a regional community resilience center and several welfare departments. The goal was to improve parenting among parents dealing with PTSD, by focusing on PTSD treatment.
The project included four components: Raising awareness of social workers regarding the subject, locating parents dealing with symptoms of PTSD in the welfare departments, training social workers to treat PTSD, and providing a short-term focused PTSD treatment to the parents. The project was accompanied by an ongoing research to evaluate the changes in PTSD and parenting indicators. Initial feedback from parents and social workers showed high satisfaction, improved parenting and reduced PTSD symptoms.
The project will be presented, including the challenges it raised, as well as some conclusions. Our aim is to expose social workers to this novel approach so that they can consider implementing it in their own countries.