Public Health England announce a new £4.5million fund aimed at supporting children and parents affected by alcohol.
The Department of Health and Social Care and the Department for Work and Pensions have jointly committed to providing a total of £4.5m funding for up to eight local authorities, with the aim of improving the support services for children and parents affected by alcohol.
The fund is being managed by Public Health England, which announced today that Local Authorities can now bid for funding.
Duncan Selbie, Chief Executive at Public Health England said:
“Alcohol can have a devastating impact on a child’s future, but we can significantly reduce it by children’s and alcohol services working well together to improve how quickly issues are picked up and help is given. As well as changing children’s lives for the better, this benefits the local community: every £1 spent on alcohol treatment, sees £3 returned."
In the bids, PHE are particularly interested in seeing how Local Authorities will:
- Identify more children of alcohol dependent parents and how they can increase support (including where they have taken on inappropriate caring responsibilities)
- Increase the number of alcohol dependent parents receiving and completing treatment, and to provide support that reduces parental conflict
- Reduce the number of ‘Looked after Children’ of alcohol dependent parents being taken back into care, and/or reducing the time spent on the child protection register
At the NHS SMPA, we understand the impact that alcohol dependency can have on the life of a child. With an estimated 200,000 children affected by alcohol in England, this investment is well needed and NHS SMPA sincerely welcome it. However, there is much more to do than this funding will allow, so this needs to be the start point for investment in this area, not the end.
Parental Alcohol and Drug Use Toolkit
PHE have also developed a new Parental Alcohol and Drug Use Toolkit to help Local Authorities plan services. The toolkit includes data and advice on how best to meet the needs of children affected by alcohol and those of their parents and carers.
This is the first time PHE has published local prevalence data of this nature. It is hoped that the data will assist LAs in identifying and commissioning appropriate services with sufficient capacity and resources in their area. It helps commissioners to understand the extent of problem parental alcohol and drug use in their area and how this can impact on children aged between 0 and 18 in the same household.
Using evidence-led approaches when designing services greatly improves outcomes, so we welcome the publication of this toolkit as a way of supporting Local Authorities to meet the needs of this children and parents affected by alcohol.