Birutė Peištarė Ilona Tamutienė


Problematisations as taken-for-granted “truths” practices making it crucial to look
at them critically and to draw attention to any potentially harmful consequences they may have. The
main aim of this article is to examine how the issue of parental alcohol’s harm to children is
problematised in the child protection and support processes in Lithuania. Data from 20 semistructured interviews with key child welfare and protection experts were analysed using Bacchi’s
problematisation approach strategy. Professionals think that parental intoxication is damaging to
children, and because of the issues they perceive, most of their work is focused on measures to
enhance parental behaviour. This approach to the problem distances professionals from the harm
that children are experiencing. It is typical to remove children from intoxicated parents and re-unite
them once the parents sober up. Professionals rely on their own moral principles and ideals,
particularly the desire to maintain “family unity”. Long-term harm develops when children who need
support are undervalued and neglected. Because child welfare practices focus on a small portion of
the problems, the harm to the children’s personalities and development is not adequately addressed.
Analyses showed that the problematisation of parental alcohol abuse-related harm to children by
professionals impacts the presumed result, which is that children are the “visible but unprotected
victims”. The professional field of problematisation of alcohol’s harm to children brought on by
parental alcohol misuse must consider crucial elements such as understanding childhood trauma and
its long-term effects on child development, knowing how to respond to it when it occurs, and
understanding how to avoid harmful long-term consequences.