Manitoba Social Workers and the Pharmaceuticalization of Children and Youth in Care
Bell, Sheri Denise
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In Manitoba, as elsewhere, there is a growing trend towards the use of pharmaceuticals and medical technology (pharmaceuticalization) on children and youth in care (C/YIC). As legally mandated guardians and trained experts on children and youth, social workers in Manitoba may play pivotal roles in the decision to medicate C/YIC with psychotropics. Yet there are no studies on Manitoba social workers’ experiences with medicated children/youth or on their perceptions and attitudes towards medicating C/YIC with psychotropics. Using a multilevel Social Structure and Personality analytic, I explored what Manitoba social workers from various fields of practice have to say about this trend. Data consisted of five in-depth interviews and 29 self-completed questionnaires. Findings highlighted that social workers in Manitoba are dealing with increasingly complex cases within a system of residual social welfare. Funding and resource constraints, lack of skilled medical professionals and educators quick to refer all contribute towards medicating C/YIC.