Innovation fund to help children of alcoholics opens to councils

Neil Puffett
Wednesday, May 23, 2018

A total of £4.5m has been set aside for councils to establish initiatives to support children of alcoholics and dependent drinkers, it has been announced.

The fund, which is being bankrolled by the Department of Health and Social Care and the Department for Work and Pensions, and managed by Public Health England, will be available for up to eight local authorities.

Public Health England said it wants to see "ambitious bids" involving "robust joint plans from public health and children and family commissioners that are designed to lead to identifying more children and parents".

It also wants to increase the number of alcohol-dependent parents receiving and completing treatment, alongside support to reduce parental conflict.

And it wants to reduce the number of looked-after children of alcohol dependent parents being taken back into care, and reduce the time they spend on the child protection register. The application phase for the innovation fund runs until 17 July.

There are an estimated 200,000 children in England who live with alcoholic parents. Public Health England has also published a toolkit to support councils in planning services.

The toolkit includes data and advice on how best to meet the needs of children growing up in these situations and those of their parents and carers.

It is hoped that the data will assist councils in identifying and commissioning appropriate services with sufficient capacity and resources in their area.

Duncan Selbie, chief executive of Public Health England, said: "There are about 200,000 children living with an alcohol dependent parent in England, always with consequences for their childhood and sometimes devastating.

"This new fund is an opportunity for local services to get help faster and more effectively to the most vulnerable children and parents and we hope to receive a range of creative applications.

Public Health Minister Steve Brine said: "For far too long, children of alcoholics have had to suffer in silence, too embarrassed and afraid to seek help or know who to turn to.

"We know being the child of an alcoholic can lead to a lifetime of problems, from mental health issues to increased risk of alcohol abuse.

"Local authorities have the local knowledge and power to make a huge difference - that's why it's right we offer this lifeline to thousands of silent sufferers."

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