Councils get £4.5m to help children with alcohol-dependent parents

23 Apr 18

Councils will be able to bid for a slice of £4.5m funding to support children living with alcoholic parents, the government has announced.

The Department of Health and Social Care and the Department for Work and Pensions have jointly made the cash available, with the aim of helping about 200,000 children in England living with alcohol-dependent parents.

Local authorities will be expected to come up with innovative solutions to improve outcomes for children with alcohol-dependent parents in their areas.

Priority will be given to local authorities that have more children affected.

The government is also giving £1m to fund ‘national capacity building’ by non-governmental organisations. 

It gave £500,000 last year to expand national helplines for children with alcoholic parents.

The £6m package of measures is expected to provide faster access to mental health services, more quickly identify children at risk and provide outreach programmes to help parents overcome addiction.

The government also wants early intervention programmes to reduce the numbers of children going into care.

Health and social care secretary Jeremy Hunt said: “The consequences of alcohol abuse are devastating for those in the grip of an addiction–but for too long, the children of alcoholic parents have been the silent victims.

“This is not right, nor fair.

“These measures will ensure thousands of children affected by their parent’s alcohol dependency have access to the support they need and deserve.”

He praised the Labour shadow health Jon Ashworth speaking out about his father being an alcoholic.

“Some things matter much more than politics, and I have been moved by my Labour counterpart Jon Ashworth’s bravery in speaking out so honestly about life as the child of an alcoholic,” Hunt said.

Public Health minister Steve Brine, who will lead the plans, said: “I look forward to working with local authorities and charities to strengthen the services that make a real difference to young people and their families.”

Izzi Seccombe, chairman of the Local Government Association’s community and wellbeing board, praised the extra funding but pointed out there was still a significant gap in funding faced by local authorities.

“With councils facing a £2 billion funding gap for children’s services by 2020, we urge government to provide sufficient funding to enable councils to provide all children with the support they need, when they need it. 

“A joined-up strategy is needed across government for all children and young people, to include all vulnerable groups.”

The LGA is calling on the government to reverse reductions to the public health grant to councils, which will help local authorities to do more to tackle drug and alcohol misuse, she added.

In March, the NSPCC charity revealed that in 2016-17 it received an average of 200 calls per week related to parental substance misuse.

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