Exploring Support Services for Family Reunifications of Inpatient Parents in Substance Abuse Treatment Centres





aftercare, family reunification, inpatient parent, parental substance abuse, substance abuse treatment centres


Parents who receive treatment at substance abuse treatment centres are separated from their children and could therefore need family reunification support when they reintegrate into their families. Research indicates that available support for inpatient parents during aftercare or discharge planning may currently not be sufficient at substance abuse treatment centres. The aim of the study was therefore to explore formal and informal support available to inpatient parents at selected substance abuse treatment centres during the family reunification process. A descriptive qualitative design was implemented to conduct the study. Purposive sampling was used to recruit 28 participants at substance abuse treatment centres. Semi-structured interviews, focus-group discussions and collages were used to collect the data. The findings showed that inpatient parents want to improve their relationships with their children and would like to involve their children in the therapeutic programme. Social workers in treatment centres are providing inpatient parents with family therapy and parenting skills that could help them to reunify with their children. However, in general, aftercare planning does not prioritise family reunification services in substance abuse treatment programmes. In this study, we highlighted the importance of family reunification support for more sustainable outcomes for these parents and provided recommendations to include family reunification services for parents in substance abuse programmes.


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Author Biography

Brandon Lebuso, North-West University

The researcher is a registered and qualified social worker for 12 years and have extensive experience working in the NGO and Government Sector working in various programmes including substance abuse.

I am currently holding a post grad degree in Clinical Social Work (Substance Abuse Program) from UCT (2015) and recently obtain my Masters Degree in Social Work from North West University.   Currently I am employed at the Western Cape Provincial Department of Social Development working as a Policy Developer in the Families Program.   


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How to Cite

Hoosain, Shanaaz, and Brandon Lebuso. 2022. “Exploring Support Services for Family Reunifications of Inpatient Parents in Substance Abuse Treatment Centres”. Southern African Journal of Social Work and Social Development 34 (2):18 pages. https://doi.org/10.25159/2708-9355/9110.



Received 2021-02-16
Accepted 2021-09-07
Published 2022-08-25