By Charlotte Webster-
A total of £10.5 million of funding is being allocated by Public Health England (PHE), to help improve the lives of adults and children impacted by alcohol. The funding consists of £4.5 million innovation fund for local projects working with children and families. There is also a£6 million capital fund to improve access to alcohol treatment in the community
A £4.5 million innovation fund, from the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) and the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP), managed by PHE, has today been awarded to 9 projects across the country.
The winning projects have been selected for demonstrating a new and creative approach to reach and support families whose lives have been affected by alcohol.
PHE has also announced a call 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. Funds are expected to be made available from 2019 to 2020.
There is an estimate of 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.
Parents with alcohol problems can have a devastating effect on the lives of children . An analysis by PHE of serious case reviews (where a child was seriously hurt or killed) found that 37% recorded alcohol as a contributing factor.
Alcohol abuse is also often a major contributor to arguments. This can lead to a range of poor outcomes for children, including being detrimental to their education and employment opportunities and harmful on their health. The British government is expressing commitment to reducing conflict between parents and this funding forms part of a new ‘reducing parental conflict programme’. It encourages local areas across England to integrate approaches addressing parental conflict into local services for families.
Examples of areas awarding innovation funding are the Greater Manchester project which offers continued support for parents leaving prison and their children across 5 areas: Rochdale, Bolton, Bury, Salford, and Trafford; and in Portsmouth, where the project will provide a range of tailored services and interventions specific to individual families, including alcohol treatment, family counselling, and support to reduce parental conflict.
Commenting on the innovation fund winning projects, 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 9 winners receiving funding, which will provide new and innovative ways of working to identify and reach out to these vulnerable children.
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.
Justin Tomlinson, Minister for Family Support, Housing and Child Maintenance at DWP, said:
This new funding will make a real difference to the lives of children of alcohol-dependent parents.
All young people deserve to feel safe and these new services will ensure thousands more get access to the support they need. I look forward to working closely with the Department of Health and Social Care on this fantastic and innovative programme, the first of its kind.
Cllr Ian Hudspeth, Chairman of the Local Government Association’s Community Wellbeing Board, said:
This Innovation Fund is a terrific opportunity for councils to maximise their pioneering work to support families whose lives have been affected by alcohol.
The causes and the solutions for tackling alcohol misuse are multi-factorial. It requires close working with partners, imagination and hard work. However, when we get it right it can have a tremendous impact on the lives affected.
To support work between alcohol and drug services and children’s social care, PHE has also today (Tuesday 4 December 2018) 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.