Swansea Drugs Project. Family Team. Safegarding and Supporting. u l

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1 Swansea Drugs Project Sa f ren ing Supporting d Chi r Safegarding and a u l d g e

2

3 This booklet is aimed at professionals in the City and County of Swansea who work with children and families where there is a drug or alcohol misusing parent. 73/74 Mansel Street, Swansea Tel : SMAT Office, Cocket Police Station, Swansea Tel: Child and Family Service Tel: The Family Services at the SWANSEA DRUGS PROJECT are funded and supported by Swansea SMAT, Cymorth and Cardiff University.

4 STRATEGIC BACKGROUND The services offered by the Swansea Drugs Project family team have all been developed in response to the possible negative impact of parental substance misuse on children and in response to the Hidden Harm report 2003 /2007. The Swansea Drugs Project had been working with parents to address their misuse even before the publication of the report, but it was the Hidden harm report that emphasised the need to address parental substance misuse. The report itself : Estimate there are between 250,000 and 350,000 children of problem drug users in the UK about one for every problem drug user. Parental problem drug use can and does cause serious harm to children at every age from conception to adulthood. Reducing the harm to children from parental problem drug use should become a main objective of policy and practice. Effective treatment of the parent can have major benefits for the child. By working together, services can take many practical steps to protect and improve the health and well-being of affected children. The number of affected children is only likely to decrease when the number of problem drug users decreases.

5 Whilst the report highlighted risks and concerns, more importantly the report made a number of recommendations which are being prioritised by governments and agencies. In Wales, the Welsh Assembly Government and Swansea Substance Misuse Action Team have clearly marked this as a priority area with additional funding and resources having been made available to work with families and protect children The Swansea Drugs Project now employs a team of experienced and qualified family workers who will work hand in hand with colleagues from Swansea social services and other family support organisations to ensure that children are not put at risk or neglected as a result of their parents drug or alcohol misuse. SWANSEA DRUGS PROJECT FAMILY WORK The Swansea drugs project has long recognised the risk of harm and neglect to children as a result of parental misuse of drugs or alcohol. It has been at the fore front in Wales in developing services that meet the needs of parents and in recognising the potential impact of parental misuse : Employed first Women s worker to focus on attracting female users and in particular mothers into the service. This was a first for drugs services in Wales and concentrated on a group that was underrepresented throughout the country 1983 : Women only session were started at project. This offered safe space for mothers and children who often faced domestic abuse : The Project started having weekly presence at ante natal clinics in Singleton hospital with aim of encouraging mothers to be to engage with services. This continues today : In partnership with Social Services the Project launched a comprehensive training manual aimed at working with Drug and alcohol using parents : POSITIVE PARENTING. This was the first of its kind in Wales and has been used with hundreds of families since and focused on both mothers and the fathers. Initial funding by Sure Start for one post

6 2004 : The Project secured funding by CYMORTH to employ an additional family worker 2007 : Flying start to provide support to families in catchment areas of 6 Swansea Schools : Appointment of Hidden Harm (Report which highlighted the potential harm to children of substance misusers) Worker funded by SMAT 2009 : The agency was successful in securing a team to deliver the Strengthening Families programme in Swansea 2010 : Appointment of two new Hidden Harm Workers funded by SMAT. Development of new family work specification for SMAT REFERRAL ROUTE: TO THE FAMILY TEAM All new referrals should be directed initially to Abertawe Alcohol & Drug Assessment Service (AADAS) for adults over 18. The assessment service will assess the needs of the parent and appropriately refer to the family service if required. AADAS Telephone number: WHERE WE WORK WITH FAMILIES Office base Home visits Family centres Partner agencies buildings

7 PARTNERSHIP WORK The Swansea Drugs Project recognises that it is essential that agencies work in partnership to ensure the safeguarding of children and is committed to work alongside other agencies to reduce the negative effects that substance misuse can have on parental ability. Agencies with which we work include: Social Services, Health Professionals, Community Based Services, Substance Misuse Agencies, Housing, GP s, Ante natal and other appropriate services that work with families.

8 INTERVENTIONS PROVIDED: THE RISK OF HARM TO THE CHILD MAY BE REDUCED BY EFFECTIVE TREATMENT AND SUPPORT FOR THE AFFECTED PARENT(S) (Hidden Harm Report 2003) Family Assessment: An assessment of parental capacity and how their substance misuse is or could impact on their ability to safeguard and meet the needs of their children. Care Management One to One Counselling and Support: Goal setting to help parents abstain, stabilises or reduce their drug or alcohol misuse. Antenatal is a multiagency support service which includes specialist obstetrician, specialist substance misuse midwife, Community psychiatric nurse from CDAT and a midwife from the delivery ward. Pregnant women are prioritized into drug treatment and will be offered specialist input up to delivery and beyond if needed. Parenting Group we offer promoting positive parenting group to look at the basic needs of children and identify parenting skills to ensure parenting capacity where there are children affected by parental substance misuse. Confidence building, healthy living, parenting skills, handling children s behaviour, routine and basic needs of children. Women & Men s Open Access The Project offers gender specific sessions to ensure the needs of both male and female users are able to access the service safely and comfortably e.g: domestic abuse, sexual health, etc

9 Strengthening Families (UK). A 7 week evidence-based programme to help families with young people aged between 10 and 14 to prepare for teenage years. The programme is aimed at reducing alcohol and drug use, behavioural problems in adolescence and strengthening the parent/carer child relationship. This programme is a universal service. develop the skills to help your child to have a good experience of their teenage years help your child s transition from primary into secondary school help your child build the skills to avoid problems with drugs and alcohol get some new ideas on how to talk to your children so they listen? improve your relationship with your child? increase your confidence in setting boundaries build confidence in your child help your child set goals for their future and support goal achievement Practical Support. Support families with housing, benefits, advocacy at meetings, getting to meetings, support in accessing community based services etc Training and Consultancy. Attend other agencies where families attend and offer sessions on substance misuse, safety and substances in the home, blood borne viruses, alcohol. This can be based on the particular needs of the group. Training for professionals on substance misuse and parental substance misuse, presentations, development of Safeguarding and substance misuse training in Swansea.

10 SWANSEA DRUGS PROJECT CARERS GROUP The cares group is a separate service for those affected by someone else s substance misuse. The group meets every Thursday evening between pm at the project. The group offer anonymous support sessions and a chance to meet others who have been in the same situation, past or present. The purpose of the group is to offer information on different drugs and their effects and to inform significant others of what services are available in Swansea, and how to access them. Furthermore, it is a chance to off load about the stresses and strains in their life at present and suggestions on how to deal with different situations in a non judgemental atmosphere. The group is proactive in organising opportunities for group members to socialise and reduce social isolation For further information about our services please contact SWANSEA DRUGS PROJECT Telephone Legislative Framework & Guidance Hidden Harm Recommendations 2003/2007 Welsh Assembly Government : Working Together to Reduce Harm 2008 Children s Act 1989 & 2004 Safeguarding Children : Working Together Under The Children s Act All Wales Child Protection Procedures 2008 Children and Young People : Rights to Action 2004

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