9 Dec 2010

The Children’s Society’s chief executive Bob Reitemeier said:

“Stripping adults who refuse treatment for drug use of their benefits will have a significant impact on families with children. This cannot be taken lightly.

“A report by The Children’s Society and Alcohol Concern has revealed that more than four-fifths of adults say that parents taking illegal drugs is a serious problem for children in this country.

“It is vital that parents who misuse have a package of support readily available, including counselling, mental health support and advice about how their addiction is affecting their child.

“The paramount issue when a child is involved in any substance misuse must always be their welfare. The government’s drugs strategy must pump adequate funding into dedicated support for children vulnerable to misuse, which is patchy.

“There is a gap in knowledge and understanding of substance misuse by many professionals working with children and their families, including teachers and social workers. Training in this area must be urgently addressed.

“Drug education must happen at an early age. The Children’s Society has worked with children as young as nine who are taking drugs. Too often a child does not get help until their situation has reached crisis point.

“The Children’s Society strongly believes that the voluntary sector, because it is independent, is well placed to provide professional support. Children and families are more likely to come to organisations like our own for advice and support.”

Media enquiries

Jennifer Walters, The Children’s Society media team, on 0207 841 4422/ 07810 796 508, or email jennifer.walters@childrenssociety.org.uk

Notes to editor

  • The Children’s Society has launched a new tool for professionals - a DVD with children’s testimonies about living with parental substance abuse. ‘Ask Me About Me’ powerfully describes the impact of parental substance misuse on nine children.
  • The Children's Society runs projects working with both children affected by parental misuse and children who misuse themselves, including: 
  1. The Children's Society STARS National Initiative - a three-year project funded by Comic Relief and the Department of Education. Its overall aim is to promote the rights and needs of children and young people affected by the substance misuse of a parent/carer. More information can be found at the STARS National Initiative website www.parentsusingdrugs.org.uk
  2. Essex Young People's Drug and Alcohol Service (EYPDAS), who work directly with children and young people using substances.
  • The Children's Society is a leading children’s charity committed to making childhood better for all children in the UK. Our national network of centres and projects deliver specialist services for children who face danger or disadvantage in their daily lives. Our schools work, children’s centres and mentoring programmes help children develop the skills and confidence they need to play a full part in their local communities, while our research and campaigning creates real change, making childhood better for all children. Visit www.childrenssociety.org.uk.