Alcohol Concern quizzes social workers about parental drinking

Social workers are being asked to give their views on how parental alcohol misuse affects child protection in a survey launched today by Alcohol Concern.

An anonymous online questionnaire has been set up for fully registered social workers, students, social work assistants, social care workers and others.

Professionals are asked what proportion of child protection enquiries, in their experience, involves children being put at risk from parental alcohol misuse, and whether they think alcohol problems are on the rise.

Domestic violence link

The survey also asks in what proportion of child protection cases involving alcohol misuse is domestic violence an overlapping concern, and whether social workers feel their post-qualification training has given them enough expertise to deal with alcohol misuse in families.

It is estimated that up to 1.3m children have been affected by parental alcohol misuse and that alcohol plays a part in between 25-33% of child abuse cases. The charity also said that 46% of domestic violence offenders were under the influence of alcohol at the time of the offence.

Lack of social work training

However, Home Office-funded research, published in February, found that more than half of newly qualified social workers felt inadequately prepared to deal with cases involving drug or alcohol misuse.

The results of the Alcohol Concern survey will be used to lobby government to provide more help for families with alcohol misuse problems. The survey runs until 18 September and the final statistics will be launched during Alcohol Awareness Week, beginning 19 October.

Social workers ‘ideally placed’

Alcohol Concern chief executive Don Shenker said: “Social workers are ideally placed to tell us more about how parental alcohol misuse affects families and children.

“We want to build a picture of how many child protection cases are related to alcohol and how that picture may be changing over time.

“By investigating the scale and nature of some of the challenges facing social workers, we can make strong recommendations to improve the lives of families and children affected by alcohol misuse.”

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