247029 Opportunities for parenting: Context, value and peer support

Monday, October 31, 2011

Susan Barrow, PhD , Mailman School of Public Health, Columbia University, New York, NY
Jacki McKinney, MSW , Center to Study Recovery in Social Contexts, Philadelphia, PA
Mary Jane Alexander, PhD , Center to Study Recovery in Social Contexts, Nathan Kline Institute, Orangeburg, NY
Celia Brown , Director, Peer Specialist Program, New York State Office of Mental Health, New York, NY
We describe a serried of linked Community-Based Participatory Research projects that we undertook with the goal of expanding parenting options and capabilities for women service users who have experienced homelessness and co-occurring disorders. The initial studies set out to (1) describe perspectives, experiences, and aspirations for parenting among mothers who have experienced homelessness and co-occurring disorders; and (2) identify how peers can develop supports for parenting in these marginal social circumstances. In the first project, a team with peer, provider, and research experience used conventional qualitative methods (in-depth interviews with mothers; focus groups with mothers, caregivers of the their children, and service providers), and documented how social contexts (shelters, housing programs, social networks and the wider institutional systems in which they are embedded) and life trajectories matter for women's potential for recovery and for the kinds of motherhood roles they desire and achieve. In the second phase, experienced peer advocates took the lead in studying how peers (mothers and fathers who have experienced homelessness and co-occurring disorders) can develop their own supports in having the lives they value. We describe current planning for a third phase, which will implement the peer parenting support curriculum across a variety of settings and will examine how this process can enhance recovery, family well-being and housing stability.

Learning Areas:
Advocacy for health and health education
Assessment of individual and community needs for health education
Diversity and culture
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs
Public health or related research
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
1. Explain why the parenting goals of women with experiences of homelessness and co-occurring disorders vary at different points in their life trajectories. 2. Identify three group processes that can be used to engage parents with co-occurring disorders in becoming peer advocates. 3. Describe the hypothesized connections between peer support for parenting and personal recovery, family well-being, and housing stability.

Keywords: Adult and Child Mental Health, Community Participation

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have over two decades of experience as a consumer advocate and participation in local and national research projects, with lived experience of all issues addressed in this research project. I participated in the design, implementation and analysis of the research reported here.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.