New measures including £6m of joint funding will support children living with alcoholic parents, the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) has announced.
The funding – set up by the DHSC and the Department for Work and Pensions – will fund local authorities (LAs) initiatives and non-governmental organisations capacity development to help around 200,000 children in England.
The move comes after the Government invested £500,000 last year to expand national helplines for children with alcohol-dependent parents.
Health and social care secretary Jeremy Hunt said: ‘The consequences of alcohol abuse are devastating for those in the grip of an addiction–but for too long, the children of alcoholic parents have been the silent victims.
‘This is not right, nor fair.
‘These measures will ensure thousands of children affected by their parent’s alcohol dependency have access to the support they need and deserve.’
The package includes:
- fast access to support and mental health services for children and their families where there is a dependent drinker
- quicker identification of at-risk children, including those undertaking inappropriate care responsibilities
- the provision of outreach programmes to get more parents successfully through addiction treatment
- early intervention programmes to reduce the numbers of children needing to go into care
Mr Hunt also appointed a dedicated minister with specific responsibility for those children.
More funding needed
Local Government Association’s (LGA) community wellbeing board chairman Cllr Izzi Seccombe said that while the funding is welcome, more is needed ‘to provide all children with the support they need, when they need it’, as councils facing a £2bn funding gap for children’s services by 2020.
She continued: ‘A joined-up strategy is needed across government for all children and young people, to include all vulnerable groups.
‘We are also calling on the Government to reverse reductions to the public health grant to councils, which will help local authorities to do more to tackle drug and alcohol misuse.’
The DHSC will invite LAs to ‘bid for funding by coming up with innovative solutions based on local need, with priority given to areas where more children are affected’, it said.