Cumbria LSCB Newsletter - Parental Substance Misuse

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Parental substance misuse

parental substance misuse

Serious and Practice Case Reviews and Domestic Homicide Reviews have identified substance misuse as a significant factor in families where children have died or been seriously harmed. Many substance misusing adults also suffer from mental health problems, which is described as Dual Diagnosis and there may be several agencies, from both Adult and Children’s Social Care, who are working with the family.

Children’s physical, emotional, social, intellectual and developmental needs can be adversely affected by their parent’s misuse of substances. These effects may be through acts of omission or commission, which have an impact on the child’s welfare and protection.

All agencies need to work together in tackling the problems caused by substance misuse in families in order to safeguard children and promote their wellbeing. Parents who misuse drugs and/or alcohol may be good enough parents who do not abuse or neglect their children. It is important not to generalise or make assumptions about the impact on a child of parental/carer drug and/or alcohol use. It is, however, important that the implications for the child are properly assessed having full regard to the parents/carers ability to maintain consistent and adequate care. Equal regard should be given to each and every child's level of dependence, vulnerability and any special needs.

See the LSCB policy ‘Children of Parents who Misuse Substances

Staff, that work with parents/carers who misuse drugs or alcohol must always consider the severity of the drug misuse and its impact on the children affected. Welfare Continuum - Intervention in Cases of Substance Misusing Parents (Appendix A) identifies 5 stages/levels of potential impact and the and Guidelines on Assessing the Impact on Parenting (Appendix B) provide guidance on issues to consider when assessing the impact on children of parental drug misuse. It is also appropriate to refer to Cumbria Children’s Services, Social Care Thresholds, as a guide to integrated working across all levels of intervention. Appendix C describes factors to consider in relation to Pregnancy and Neo-Natal Care and Appendix D does the same for Alcohol Use in Pregnancy.


NSPCC - Parental substance misuse, How to support children living with parents who misuse alcohol and drugs

Community Care - How parental substance misuse affects children: key points from research

RiP - The impact of parental substance misuse on child development

Training : Substance Misuse & Parenting

The aim of the training is to provide staff who work with families affected by substance use additional insight into the impact substance use can have on parenting. It is to provide support to all professionals working with parental substance use to:

  • Develop an understanding of common substances used and their affects
  • Insight into the impact substance use can have upon parenting capacity and assessing this
  • Raise awareness of Multi Agency Thresholds in Cumbria and differing levels of support for children and families
  • Understand the LSCB Procedure for Children of Parents that Misuse Substances
  • Identify ways of supporting ways of supporting children and families affected by substance use
  • Hear the voice of children affected by parental substance use

Duration: Half day 9.30am – 1.30pm

Who is the course aimed at : please refer to the LSCB Training Framework

Dates and venues:

Thursday 30 May 2019 - Furness College, Channelside, Barrow in Furness, LA14 2PJ

Friday 4 October 2019 - Harraby Community Centre, Edgehill Road, Carlisle, CA1 3SN

To book your place on this course please visit the LSCB website here 

eLearning : Hidden Harm – The Effect of Parental Drug and Alcohol Misuse on Children:

When it comes to drug and alcohol misuse in adults focus is often on the parent. This course aims to emphasis the effects on children and young people, raises awareness and helps spot signs and identify appropriate windows to help break the cycle and safeguarding the child.