Funding announced to help families affected by alcohol abuse

Public Health England announced £10.5m funding to support families affected by alcohol

Published on 10th December 2018

Public Health England is allocating £10.5 million to improve services for people affected by alcohol abuse and their families.

PHE is awarding £4.5 million funding for nine projects to support families affected by alcohol misuse. A further £6 million is being made available for local authorities to bid for which can be used to improve services and facilities for people with alcohol problems.

Steve Brine, Public Health Minister said: "Alcohol abuse can tear lives apart, not only for the people trapped in the grip of an addiction but for their children, who are often robbed of the support, comfort and structure they need from their parents. I am committed to finding new ways to help families in the midst of these heart-breaking situations.

"Many children in this position suffer in silence – but the funds awarded to these councils today will help them identify those children sooner and offer them a vital lifeline. We are also investing more money to get parents into alcohol services to help free them of addictions once and for all," he added.

It is estimated that there are 200,000 children in England living with 120,000 parents who have alcohol problems. PHE’s recent annual treatment statistics show that there were 16,000 adults receiving treatment for alcohol who were living with children and a further 18,000 who are parents but not currently living with their children. The figures show that the vast majority (82%) of children with parents receiving alcohol treatment weren’t receiving support from children’s social care.

A £4.5 million innovation fund, from the Department of Health and Social Care and the Department for Work and Pensions, managed by PHE, has been awarded to nine projects across the country who have demonstrated creative approaches to reaching and supporting families whose lives have been affected by alcohol.

This includes Swindon where a parenting programme helps 840 parents over the course of the project, and provides support for 370 children through early help services, where parental alcohol use is identified. In Knowsley, 1,000 professionals will be trained in identifying potentially alcohol dependent parents, and they aim to see a 20% increase in the number of alcohol dependent parents accessing treatment over 12 months.

Haringey has been awarded funding to support vulnerable children and their alcohol dependent parents, with additional support from a specialist team while West Sussex provides pre-birth support to 50 families at high-risk of interventions from Children’s Social Care and therapeutic support to children and young people, alongside treatment for parents.

Funding has also been awarded to North Tyneside, Brighton and Hove, Greater Manchester, Portsmouth and St Helen's for creative and innovative aproaches dealing with alcohol abuse.

Duncan Selbie, Chief Executive at PHE said: "There are about 200,000 children whose lives are often torn apart from living with a parent with alcohol problems, which often haunts them into adulthood and can lead to a lifetime of under-achievement and personal problems.

"That is why I’m delighted to be announcing the nine winners receiving funding, which will provide new and innovative ways of working to identify and reach out to these vulnerable children," he added.

In addition, PHE is calling for bids for a share of a £6 million capital fund for local authorities, which can be used to improve services and facilities for people with alcohol problems. PHE is encouraging local authorities to submit an application to bid for money by 21 January 2019, with successful projects announced next spring and money being made available from 2019 to 2020.

To support work between alcohol and drug services and children’s social care, PHE has also published new guidance for local authorities on safeguarding children with alcohol and drug dependent parents. This document updates previous PHE guidance for local authorities on the importance of developing protocols between alcohol and drug treatment and children and family social care services.

Safeguarding children affected by parental alcohol and drug use

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