Skip to main content

Families affected by parental alcohol misuse

We support young people who live in families affected by alcohol and drug use. Working alongside other professionals, we encourage best practice and make sure children with alcohol dependent parents get their voices heard in the issues that affect them.

What does alcohol dependent mean?

If someone is alcohol dependent, it means they are likely to experience physical and psychological withdrawal symptoms from alcohol. They have lost control of their drinking.  This will compromise their parenting capacity and the environment in which children live and grow up.

The impact upon children has been widely documented and includes their own physical and psychological health, family life, relationships and education. It is important to understand and address the impact of alcohol harm, not only on the individual drinker, but to those around them especially children.

substance use figures


children in England live with an alcohol dependent parent

2.6 million

children live with parents who drink to hazardous levels

1 in 3

children aged 10-17 experience negative consequences as a result of their parents drinking

substance use online learning

Substance use online learning

We have developed an e-learning tool for professionals to further their skills and knowledge when working with young people affected by parental alcohol misuse. The course covers a range of topics:

  • Alcohol facts and effects
  • Alcohol culture
  • Impact of parental alcohol misuse on families and children
  • Support for engaging with children
  • Influencing outcomes for families.

Take the online course

two women working side by side

Substance use information and guidance

Following the publication of Hidden Harm, we developed a nationally recognised hub of information, resources and best practice on supporting children affected by parental substance misuse.

We have undertaken research, published reports and produced bespoke resources on the impact of parental alcohol and drug misuse upon children.