The Government are taking robust action to reduce significantly the numbers of young people affected by substance misuse, (including alcohol). The Department for Education and Skills, the Home Office and Department of Health agreed a joint approach to the development of universal, targeted and specialist services to prevent drug harm and to ensure that all children and young people are able to reach their potential. This will often cover a wide range of substances, including alcohol and volatile substances and is supported by a ring fenced budget—The Young People's Substance Misuse Partnership Grant.
In addition, the Alcohol Harm Reduction Strategy, led by the Home Office, aims to minimise harm caused by alcohol and tackle adult problem drinking. The strategy includes a work theme on young people and parents.
Arrangements for safeguarding children and promoting their welfare have been strengthened through the Every Child Matters reform. The Children Act 2004 places a duty on local authority children's services departments to protect children from significant harm, including from alcohol misusing parents.
Over the past two years the Government Office for the North East's Drugs and Crime team has led a major regional initiative aimed at developing effective multi-agency responses for children and families affected by parental substance misuse. All 12 local authorities are participating in this and many have developed local networks to plan and implement effective support services.
Specifically within Tees Valley, five authorities have developed a range of services for children and families affected by parental substance misuse.
Middlesbrough have just established a project—Families First—dedicated to supporting families where parental alcohol or misuse threatens the safety and well-being of the children in the family. The Government are funding an evaluation of the project in order to develop the evidence base on interventions with these young people.
DfES do not provide specific funding for this area of work. However, local partnerships have used a range of funding streams to develop and support children and families affected by alcoholism, including the Adult Pooled Treatment Budget, Young People's Substance Misuse Partnership Grant, High Focus Area capacity building fund, Neighbourhood Renewal Funding and mainstream funding for children's services.