The University of Birmingham, in partnership with the Home Office and key social care and health agencies, will host a national one-day conference for social workers seeking information and practical guidance in dealing with drug and alcohol problems.

The conference on June 14 is aimed at social workers who do not specialise in substance use but who work with adults and children affected by substance problems. The conference has attracted delegates from all over the UK and from statutory and non-statutory social care organisations.

Dr Sarah Galvani, Lecturer in Social Work at the University of Birmingham, says: “Social workers are daily facing the challenges of working with people who have drug or alcohol problems as well as children and families affected by a loved one’s problem. It can be a frustrating and difficult task and social workers need support to work with these issues.”

The conference is designed to improve social workers’ understanding of drugs and alcohol in the context of social work practice and to boost their confidence as they support their clients. In addition, delegates will hear about best practice and policy from social work and health practitioners working effectively with problematic substance users.

Dr Galvani said: “I welcome the support of the am delighted that the Home Office Crime and Drug Strategy Directorate in funding this event. It is important that we continue to raise this issue among a range of strategic and practice partnerships in order to boost the confidence of social workers and social care staff to work well with drug and alcohol problems.”

The conference is being chaired by Mike Wardle, Deputy Director of the General Social Care Council, the body that governs the training and registration of social work professionals, and will also hear from the director of the British Association of Social Workers (England), Ian Johnston.

Dr Galvani will begin the morning session with an overview of the extent to which social workers are working with drug and alcohol problems and the challenges this poses. She will join fellow speakers for a question and answer session before lunch.

The afternoon discussions comprise breakout sessions where delegates can opt to concentrate on issues of particular interest. These include working with vulnerable young people and service users who resist help, working with families and children affected by parental substance use, how the criminal justice system works with drugs and alcohol, and the issues surrounding mental ill health and substance use.

Further Media information:

Anna Mitchell – Press Officer, University of Birmingham

Tel: 0121 414 6029

Mob: 07920 593946



The Conference is hosted by the Home Office in partnership with the University of Birmingham, supported by the Social Care Institute of Excellence (SCIE), General Social Care Council (GSCC), Commission for Social Care Inspectorate (CSCI), British Association of Social Workers (BASW), National Treatment Agency (NTA), Department of Health and Skills for Care and Development