Involving Parents in the Rehabilitation Process


Low-income families in Australia live under harsh conditions with most of the individuals above 14 resorting to different means to fend for themselves. Parents in these families work extra shifts to provide and live decently. The extra shifts lead to low supervision hours with their teenage children. Additionally, teenagers from these families go through daily insurmountable challenges, which are incomparable with what their counterparts from the middle-income families go through. As such, the teenagers in this age group are part of a marginalized community and are vulnerable to vices such as drug use and crime. Given the prevalence of drug use among Australian teenagers, this age group requires a rehabilitation program, which considers the financial ability of the parents and involves the parents through the rehabilitation process. Therefore, the research proposal is to understand the impact of involving parents in the rehabilitation process.

Aims and Significance of the Study

  1. Understand the issues that cause the group to be a vulnerable group
  2. Understand the contribution of parents in the rehabilitation process
  3. Understand the role of family involvement in the rehabilitation process for the members of this age group
  4. To identify the different possible intervention procedures, that can be applied in the and rehabilitation process
  5. To highlight the required resources in order to make the intervention process successful


For a long period, teenagers from low-income families in Australia have been vulnerable to a number of vices. One such vice is that of drug abuse that leads to addiction. The group is a marginalize lot due to the little outreach programs that have been initiated to resolve the issues that affect its members. Additionally, most of the outreach programs have not been effective. The teenagers from low-income families in Australia are marginalized because most of them are on and off from learning institutions. In this perspective, their situation cannot compare to that of teens from the middle-income families in the country (Australian Bureau of Statistics, 2009). The aspect of being in and out of school as well as having busy parents and guardians who are always on different jobs means that the teens are left unattended. In addition, their parents hustle between different long-hour jobs as they try to sustain their families. For this reason, some members of this marginalized group often leave school to help their parents in different odd jobs in order to sustain their livelihood. Crime and other social evils are also issues that the members of this group engage in. The parents in this situation do not have time to follow up on their children’s behavior. In this regard, while away from their parents and trying to make ends meet, the teenagers engage in drug use (Danaher, & Cook, 2012). Early substance use and abuse increase the chances of addiction. The proposal in this situation is to evaluate the effect of involving parents in the rehabilitation teenage addicts from the low-income families in Australia. The rehabilitation and prevention program would take a reverse approach by involving parents in the process with the assumption that these teenagers engage in drug abuse due to the little parental involvement in their lives.

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The term rehabilitation will be used to mean the recovery process for teens who are addicted and the prevention of addiction for teens who have tried and tested substances, but are not addicted. Recovering the addicted teens means that the program effectively enables them to stop the habit while the prevention process prevents the teens from getting to addiction and using these substances.

Literature Review

Currently, one among five Australian teenagers aged 16-17 engage in binge drinking, and this has increased the level of exposure to addiction and abuse. The figures collected from cannabis use among individuals from the same age group are disturbing. The statistics indicate that one out of seven teenagers in high school has used a substance in order to “get high” over the last year (Australian Bureau of Statistics, 2008). According to the chairperson of the Australian National Council on Drugs, the problem has been propagated to this level because of the social setting in Australia. In this perspective, most Australians hold the belief that drug use and alcohol consumption is normal, and it is the rite of passage from teenage to adulthood. The social setting in Australia indicates that the problem of drug abuse and addiction comes from adults who have set an example for the teenagers (Forde, & Foxwell, 2009). However, the frustrations associated with living in difficult economic times are also a probable cause of the trend in abuse and addiction among the adults who then pass the culture to the teens.

Involving the parents in the rehabilitation of teens from low-income families who are addicted is a step to increase the support towards the rehabilitation process. Rehabilitation requires family members to understand the process of recovery. The involvement of parents as the family members does provide the needed physical, social, and mental health for the teenager to overcome the said challenges. The rehabilitation process is a dynamic process, which takes different directions according to the response presented by the patients. However, the focus is set at enabling the patient to acquire the help that they need. In addition, the rehabilitation process should be holistic and should consider the cultural dimensions. In this perspective, this is a process, which is not only affected by the response presented by an individual but also the attitude of the people around them (Schutt, 2001). At teenage, the patients are still under their parents care; therefore, the most important participants in the process other than the patient are their parents. The attitude and the reality of the parents will also guide the attitude and the response is shown by the teenager.

The process of drug addiction is long and takes place over time. Although it appears that the Australian teens from low-income families engage in the vice to reduce their frustrations, addiction and abuse of substances has major financial and social burdens on any society. As such, the problems that this group tries to run away from are multiplied by the process of drug addiction (Australian Drug Foundation, 2012). The role of a social worker comes in handy in involving the society in a rehabilitation program. Parents represent authoritative figures in the society regardless of their income levels or status; they form a basic pillar in guiding and disciplining the young generation in a society. For this reason, involving the parents provides a solution to the teens and assures them of support through the rehabilitation program (Straussner, 2011). Social workers should avoid being partial and should not instill any form of victimization when running a rehabilitation process because the age group from this marginalized community is vulnerable. Therefore, victimization may result in the involvement in risky behavior and more dangerous vices among the teens thus increasing the problem rather than solving.

Different myths have been passed about drug addiction and abuse among teenagers. However, one fact remains, that neglect of children is a major symptom of addiction. In the Australian case, belonging to a low-income family means that the parents are not home often. Therefore, the children have a lot of free time (Sloboda, 2006). The parents are mostly working long hours with little pay and have to work different jobs thus reducing their contact time with their teenage children. In addition, the Australian culture views teenagers as adults thus leading to the belief that members of this age group can make a reasonable judgment at all times. These are cultures, which have also contributed to the increasing rates of drug and substance use and abuse among members of the selected group.

Addiction does not arise from a bad habit or effect from moral weakness; it arises from social circumstance, personal behavior, or genetic susceptibility. Additionally, the inner resolve to quit drugs does not deliver an individual from addiction. Rehabilitation programs succeed not because they build the inner belief in overcoming addiction but because they offer courses that are structured towards the treatment of the patients with the reduction of their habit. In this perspective, such programs succeed by enabling the patients to reduce their dependence on the substance and to control their urges. Individuals who relapse should not be victimized or neglected because it may take more than one attempt before overcoming addiction (National Institute on Drug Abuse, 2012). The victimization and negative attitude towards patients who relapse do not help in the recovery and prevention process because it increases the guilt among the participants. In this perspective, social workers should welcome participants to the process regardless of their previous trials. Each trial should be considered as a new chance to overcome addiction.


The social research process will involve the qualitative approach. The approach provides a chance for the researcher to study the population as they go through the rehabilitation process and to interact with them to understand the problem at a personal level. As such, ethnography and grounded theory are the most suitable methods for the research (Creswell, 2003). Ethnography will allow the researcher to fit into the research group and to participate in the research along with the teenagers. The researcher may take part in the intervention process, or he may just observe the process. From this perspective, the recommendations and conclusions of the research will be based on the experience. In addition, combining this method with the grounded research theory enables the researcher to develop a theory from the study. The research should present a chance to create a theory from the social research. The theory will then undergo a process of approval and evaluation prior to acceptance in the field (Congress Report, 2000). Other researchers have not considered the question of the impact of parental participation in the rehabilitation process. For this reason, the survey provides an opportunity to use the grounded theory approach and develop a theory from the intervention.

Methods of Data Collection

Data collection will take place through observation for the ethnographic study. The study requires the researcher to understand how the participants react through the process, therefore; observation is the best approach, in this case. Additionally, the grounded theory approach will require both observation and secondary analysis (Morgan, & Winship, 2007). The secondary analysis will be useful in providing additional information about the study group. Combining these strategies provides an opportunity for triangulation in the research process. Triangulation provides verifiable results in research as the researcher can understand the difference between the responses given by the participants.

Ethical Considerations

Although many individuals have been involved in drug abuse and ended at addiction, the involvement of the target group in this activity is regarded to as a vice. The social perception towards individuals from the target group who engage in drug abuse and are addicted is negative. As such, members of this vulnerable group rarely receive much-needed help. In instances where one may want to overcome addiction, the available programs are expensive and cannot accommodate such individuals because they may not pay. The program initiated in the research should have a significant effect on the population by providing a solution. More so, the program should not reject any interested parties because it should also be framed as a social outreach program (Neuman, 2007). The participants in the study and the intervention program should remain anonymous to other participants. The participants should be treated and regarded with the right accord, and they should receive all the benefits of a rehabilitation program.

Administration of the Research

The research model should take the form of an intervention rehabilitation program. Therefore, the participants should undergo the rehabilitation process with their parents. However, the program will also be the method of administration for the research.


The funds should cater for the rehabilitation costs for the participants. The cost for each individual to go through the rehabilitation is $1000 but with many participants over 20, the costs may be subsidized to $550 per individual.


Australian Bureau of Statistics. (2009, December 23). Australian Bureau of Statistics. Retrieved January 30, 2015, from http://www.abs.gov.au/AUSSTATS/abs@.nsf/Lookup/4102.0Chapter5002008

Australian Bureau of Statistics.. (2008, May 4). Substance Use Disorders. Retrieved January 30, 2015, from http://www.headspace.org.au/what-works/research-information/substance-use

Australian Drug foundation,. (2012, July 3). Drugs – teenagers – Better Health Channel. Retrieved January 30, 2015, from http://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/bhcv2/bhcarticles.nsf/pages/Drugs_teenagers?open

Congress Report, C. (2000, April 2). Understanding Addiction, Substance Abuse Treatment, and Recovery. Retrieved January 30, 2015, from http://aspe.hhs.gov/hsp/subabuse99/chap2.htm

Creswell, J. (2003). Research design: Qualitative, quantitative, and mixed method approaches (2nd ed.). Thousand Oaks, Calif.: Sage Publications.

Danaher, M., & Cook, J. (2012). Researching education with marginalized communities. New York: Routledge.

Forde, S., & Foxwell, K. (2009). Developing dialogues indigenous and ethnic community broadcasting in Australia. Bristol: Intellect Books ;.

Morgan, S., & Winship, C. (2007). Counterfactuals and causal inference: Methods and principles for social research. New York: Cambridge University Press.

National Institute on Drug Abuse,. (n.d.). NIDA – Publications – Brief Strategic Family Therapy for Adolescent Drug Abuse. Retrieved January 30, 2015, from http://archives.drugabuse.gov/TXManuals/BSFT/BSFT6.html

National Institute on Drug Abuse,. (2012, December 1). Principles of Drug Addiction Treatment: A Research-Based Guide (Third Edition). Retrieved January 30, 2015, from http://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/principles-drug-addiction-treatment-research-based-guide-third-edition/frequently-asked-questions/what-drug-addiction-treatment

Neuman, W. (2007). Basics of social research: Qualitative and quantitative approaches (2nd ed.). Boston: Pearson/Allyn and Bacon.

Schutt, R. (2001). Investigating the social world: The process and practice of research (3rd ed.). Thousand Oaks, Calif.: Pine Forge Press.

Sloboda, Z. (2006). Handbook of drug abuse prevention. New York, NY: Springer.

Straussner, S. (2011). Children of substance-abusing parents: Dynamics and treatment. New York: Springer.

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