Leading for outcomes: parental substance misuse

SCIE Social Care Online
Institute for Research and Innovation in Social Services
Publication date:
01 January 2011


Parental substance misuse in Scotland is a widespread and serious problem. Reported figures of the number of children and young people affected vary, with current best estimates showing that up to 60,000 children under 16 years old have a parent with a drug problem and up to 65,000 children under the age of 16 have a parent with an alcohol problem. In addition, parental substance misuse is a key factor in many cases in children and families social work, with various reports citing this figure between 20% and 78% of cases. The guide is intended for anyone working with families for whom parental substance misuse is an issue. This includes families where children are resident or visiting the family home, have parental contact in other situations, or where reunification of the family is a desirable goal. The underlying principle of the guide is that by working in an outcomes focused way with parents, outcomes are improved for the child, and this is a key goal of the work. However, this guide only deals with direct work with adults.