We run a number of services across the country to help children and young people in families affected by substance misuse

Girl stood outside smiling

Our work focuses on making sure that these children have the professional care and support they so urgently need when they find themselves in these dangerous situations.

Our services help children in families affected by substance misuse by working with them face-to-face, on a one-to-one basis. We’re there for as long as it takes for a child to recover from their experiences, and we provide them with the access to the resources that will help them stay safe and rebuild their lives.

How we work to help children recover from their experiences

We conduct group work sessions, so that young people can learn what they can do if they find themselves affected by substance misuse.

We help children to learn what causes addiction, how they can spot if someone they know – whether a child or an adult – is experiencing issues around substance misuse, and how they can stop their lives being damaged by parental substance misuse.       

Children in families affected by substance misuse can face a range of extremely difficult challenges. They are at risk of physical harm as parents who misuse or are addicted to alcohol or drugs substances can often be violent and abusive towards their family members. Our services support children who are experiencing both physical and mental abuse, provide them with expert counselling and ensure that they get the support they need.  

Young people at risk

When their parents are misusing substances, young people are also at high risk of being groomed. Adults who are addicted to drugs will move in criminal circles, and this also exposes their children to criminal activities.

Often these criminals will take advantage of a child’s vulnerability, using money and gifts to gain their trust before submitting them to the worst kinds of exploitation – forcing them to transport and sell drugs around the country, luring them into criminal gangs, or sexually exploiting them.

Our services are there to give children an adult they can trust and reply on. We help support them through their ordeals, and recover from their experiences so they can look forward to the future.

Substance misuse among adults also increases the likelihood that a child will experience neglect. Adults addicted to drugs or alcohol will often take money that should be spent on staples such as food, clothes or utility bills and spend it feeding their addictions instead. This leaves their children facing risks such as malnourishment and poor development, and can lead to young people suffering unnecessarily due to poor health and hygiene.

Our services help children experiencing neglect by making sure they have appropriate support and know where they can go to access to the specialist help they need. We also run campaigns that call on local and national government so that children don’t have to suffer due to problem debt.     

Mental health issues

Children frequently suffer issues with their mental health when a parent is misusing substances. They can find themselves constantly worrying about their parent’s well-being, and may even blame themselves for their parent’s problem. These pressures can affect a young person’s sense of self-worth, and lead to issues such as depression, reduced educational achievement, social unease and self-harm.

We run a number of drop-in services that provide young people with access to trained mental health practitioners who can help them through the issues they’re facing and refer them on to more specialised help if required.       

Find out more about our work helping children in families affected by substance misuse