Social work leaders call for royal commission on impact of substance abuse on children

Delegates at a social work conference in Scotland yesterday welcomed calls from social work leaders for a royal commission into the impact of substance abuse on children and families.

The conference heard calls from the Association of Directors of Social Work for an independent inquiry to obtain cross-party agreement on the best way to protect children living with parents who abuse drugs and alcohol.

The Scottish executive is already reviewing guidance on the use of the heroin substitute methadone, but the ADSW wants a wider debate about how society deals with the ever-growing problem of substance misuse and how it expects social work services to meet that need.

David Crawford, president of ADSW, said: “There are some issues that need to be dealt with in a de-politicised way. A royal commission is meant to be able to consider major issues for the long term – this is not one for knee-jerk politics.”

Stephen Smellie, Unison’s social work convenor, told the conference the issue needed to avoid “political sloganism”.

Anne Black, independent child protection consultant, said: “A royal commission could take a broad view of the issue but we need to do something urgently, not wait for five years.”

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