Drug and alcohol treatment services should be auditing caseloads to establish how many of their patients are parents or have responsibility for children, new guidance recommends.
The joint guidance from the Department for Children, Schools and Families, the Department of Health and the National Treatment Agency for Substance Misuse has outlined local protocols that should exist between drug and alcohol treatment services and local safeguarding and family services.
Children and family services, meanwhile, are encouraged to be mindful of the effect family situations can have on a substance abuser and vice versa. It is recommended that the services consider whether the parents’ condition or their need to attend treatment sessions may be leading to heavy caring responsibilities falling on children. The guidance also advises family services to inform adult substance misuse services of significant changes that will affect the parent or alter the needs of the child.
Strategic directors and joint commissioning managers from local drug partnerships are also recommended to attend children’s trust and local safeguarding children board meetings and training every two years.