‘Vulnerable children need greater focus’

More research is needed on preventing substance misuse among the most disadvantaged children, government advisers have said.

There is a lack of evidence about effective interventions for looked-after children, young offenders, those who are homeless or involved in prostitution, children of substance misusers and those with mental health problems, says guidance from the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence, which was published last week.

As a result, the guidance, commissioned by the Department of Health, does not include specific recommendations for these groups.

It calls on social care, health and youth justice practitioners to provide “structured support” for two years or more for children aged 11 to 16 identified as being at high-risk of substance misuse and their families.

This should include assessing family interaction and parental skills training, it says.

The NHS Confederation welcomed the guidance, but chief executive Gill Morgan pointed out that, as with any Nice guidance, no extra funding had been provided, which “inevitably causes difficulties”.

Further information
Nice guidance

Substance misuse



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