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NSPCC Publish Parental Substance Misuse Related Local Case Reviews

Date: Monday, 05th Feb 2024 | Category: General


NSPCC have published their learning from parental substance misuse related local case reviews.

The report highlighted several failings including lack of understanding of substance misuse and its effect on caring responsibilities, workers not always asking whether drug and alcohol users have children, and lack of information sharing between children’s social care and specialist alcohol and drugs services. Examples of findings are below. 

  • Substance use problems were sometimes seen as historical, rather than a current issue. Professionals didn’t always consider how becoming a parent or carer for a new child could increase stress and trigger further substance use.
  • Problem substance use, in particular use of cannabis or alcohol, had become normalised in some local areas. This meant practitioners didn’t always fully consider their impact on parenting.
  • Levels of problem substance use sometimes fluctuated over time or were triggered by specific events. Professionals didn’t always respond to changing circumstances or identify triggers for increased use.
  • Professionals working with adults with substance use problems weren’t always aware, and didn’t check, whether they had children.
  • Sometimes professionals with important insight into parental substance use weren’t included in risk assessments, including pre-birth assessments.
  • Non- or dis-engagement with drug and alcohol services wasn’t always flagged to other services. This meant professionals assumed parents/carers were receiving help from drug and alcohol services when they weren’t.
  • Specialist services weren’t always available to fill in knowledge gaps. For example, drug and alcohol professionals weren’t always available to provide partner agencies with clarity on the meaning of drug test results.

For more information visit the NSPCC here