Scots plan moots parental drug tests

The Scottish executive could introduce random drug tests for drug-misusing parents through proposed contracts they would have to agree with service providers, according to an action plan published this week.

The Hidden Harm – Next Steps document, which sets out the responsibilities of social work and other agencies in protecting the children of drug misusers, also says drug misusers must be subject to multi-agency assessments.

Social workers and other frontline staff will be retrained in child protection, while the executive will develop a national fostering strategy to tackle the country’s current shortfall of carers.

Another report published this week, from the Aberlour Child Care Trust’s think tank, says services should set timescales for actions on parental drug misuse that are appropriate for children, not their parents.

David Crawford, the incoming head of the Association of Directors of Social Work, will tell delegates at its annual conference this week that there needs to be a debate about how society wants social workers to deal with the children of drug misusers.

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