Evaluation of the Outcomes Determined by the Current Public Health Policy for Children Affected by Parental Substances Use in

Evaluation of the Outcomes Determined by the Current Public Health Policy for Children Affected by Parental Substances Use in the UK






Evaluation of the Outcomes Determined by the Current Public Health Policy for Children Affected by Parental Substances Use in the UK


The research proposal entails a brief discussion focused on reviewing and evaluating the different outcomes that have resulted from the urge to help children brought up by parents that use substances hence developing different issues. Significantly, parental substance use has been a major issue over the years especially when it comes to the child welfare system; according to research maltreated children of parents with substance use disorders often remain in this system longer and experience poorer outcomes than other children (NSPCC, 2013, 22). However, addressing and countering the multiple needs and problems faced by these children and their families has always been very challenging.

Basically, it is very apparent that putting up with a substance misusing parent affects the children’s self-esteem and can cause feelings of isolation as they try to make up something out of their world; generally, it robs them of their ‘right’ to a normal childhood. According to statistics, such a child is seven times more likely to also misuse the substances at an older age which will result to a harmful/ poor lifestyle and aspects like health and education will be affected or even worse indulge in crime (Colin, 2013, 15). This has resulted to the dissimilar outcomes that the paper is looking at to determine whether the public health policy has applied the right and effectual measures to counter the same.

Background literatureParents with substance use disorders may not be able to function effectively in a parental role; this can be due to impairments (both physical and mental) caused by alcohol or other drugs, domestic violence, expenditure of often limited household resources on purchasing alcohol or other drugs, frequent arrests, confinement, and court dates time spent seeking out, manufacturing, or using alcohol or other drugs, and estrangement from primary family and related support (Eileen, 2011, 47).Moreover, children parented by substance abusers also have an increased chance of experiencing a variety of negative outcomes; some of the challenges include: they are at a greater risk of developing the behavior themselves, they are also likely to find themselves in foster care (where they are likely to stay for a long time than others) and more significantly they are likely to have poorer physical, intellectual, social and emotional outcomes (Barnard &McKeganey, 2004, 553).

As a result of this, there has been a budding society toward cooperation among the child welfare, substance abuse and other different systems that offer services for children and families affected by the fact that their parents use substances (both drugs and alcohol). Communication, understanding and active collaboration among service systems such as the United Kingdom Public Health Sector are paramount when it comes to ensuring that child welfare-parents that are involved in substance abuse hence require accurate identification after which they will receive essential treatment in a timely manner (Barnard, 2003, 294).

Over the years, there have been cases where various systems have been put in place to try and effectively counter the problems; some of them have made a great impact to a number of families in the UK while others have failed (Werner, 1993, 152). The Public Health Sector together with some health care organizations has funded a number of discretionary grants to promote demonstration projects with a goal of improved outcomes for children growing up in families where one or both the parents/guardians has a problem associated with substance use (Copelo et. al, 2005, 273). The contributions have involved family support services for grandparents and other relatives who provide care to children whose parents are substance abusers, model development and replication to implement programs involved in identifying and looking after substance exposed newborns and, there have also been grants that were meant to augment the well being of these children and also advance the permanency outcomes for them (Dube et. al, 2001, 1634).

Problem Statement

The project came up as result of the multiple problems experienced by children whose parents are substance abusers.


The study is aimed at using different factors and systems that have been used in the past to provide a solution that will basically serve this purpose.

General aims of the study include:

Review the multiple risk and protective factors impacting on child outcomes in families with parental substance misuse.

Consider the scope of the predicament and data available on the numbers of children that have to face parents that practice substance abuse

Scrutinize the situation of children and families in national, state and territory policy.

Analyze the treatment literature to figure out whether there is enough information for services to increase an “evidence-informed” approach to treatment.

After attaining all these factors, the study also aims at coming up with a system that will:

Delivering parent training in the home resulted in better outcomes compared to those interventions that were only clinic-based;

Interventions that focused on teaching specific child management techniques were most effective in changing childrearing practices, but less effective in changing other aspects of parental functioning; and

Individualizing the interventions to the specific needs of families enhanced outcomes.

Research Question

How will the proposed approach counter these problems?

Will it give a better chance for the children being affected by poor parenthood?

Will the chances of these children becoming drug substance abusers reduce?

Project Justification

The projects aim is mainly to help the different children be able to counter the different problems that they experience due to their parents abusing the drugs; moreover, no child deserves to go through such since all child are entitled to the good parenting.

Project Scope

The scope of the project elaborates the limitations of the project proposal in order to develop an utter approach for the children and all the stakeholders enabling them to establish the different problems and handle them appropriately and affecting the children positively.

Aim of the study

Currently, more than two hundred and fifty thousand children have parents with drug problems in the United Kingdom and an estimate of around six in twenty children live in a home with at least one overindulged drinking parent; all these children are a high-level risk of abuse or abandon which in most cases leads to chaotic lives (Joseph, 2007, 8). These children require a program that campaigns or facilitates confidential space to express their feelings, reduce isolation and build self esteem overlooking all the past situations; moreover, the parents also require help when it comes to understanding the comprehensive impact of their substance abuse and mostly on their children (DeBellis et. al, 2001, 940).

Research methods

Some of the research methods to be used include:

Retrospective studies which will literature reviews, case studies and other studies using medical records and misconduct databases as the data sources; moreover, this will also include studies of significant event audit in the retrospective category since although the assessments themselves were reported in real time, the research involving their databases was finished retrospectively.

Prospective/ single method studies using information and data analysed either qualitatively or quantitatively – this will include reporting systems studies in this category since although reported incidents may have happened in the past (retrospectively), reports used in this case will be made especially for the research, or in real time.

Participants, including how and where you will recruit them 

The core participants to be involved are the practitioners who play the key role of offering these services; however, they are those that are involved in offering the treatment to substance abusers but have not acquired training when it comes to mentoring since they are involved with the treatment alone. In such as situation, the first recruit involves those with experience since training may not be offered at the start of everything.

The practitioners will be acquired through the public health sector and other health care organizations; however, the process will take sometime since it will require a lot of convincing and making them understand and trust the whole system after which the approaches will be adapted into their systems.Data collection methods

The research will apply two methods of data collection in the process of conducting this study, and methods will use both primary and secondary sources data. We shall use questionnaires as instruments of data collection, which will be issued to people who are close to these children (not parents) and also children that can be able to fill them. There will be an internet search using the commonly known search engines like Google, with initial search focusing mainly on application of social media marketing by organizations.

Data Analysis Methods

This study will have qualitative data, and a different analysis of this data; where the qualitative be analyzed using the latest version of SPSS. Tables, diagrams, and gridswill be applied in the analysis of qualitative data.Contribution to knowledge

The general factors that these children face as a result of their parents abusing drugs include; high levels of family disharmony, domestic violence, Physical, sexual or emotional abuse, inconsistent, ambivalent or neglectful parenting, he absence of a stable adult figure (such as a non-using parent, another family member or a teacher), parental loss following separation or divorce, material deprivation and neglect, and the family not taking the important step of seeking help (Hanson et. al 2006, 5).Additionally, the common substance-specific factors known include; both parents excessively using the substance, substance misuse taking place in the home, greater severity of the problem, exposure to and awareness of criminal activity like drug dealing, presence of the child when drugs are taken, and witnessing someone inject drugs and lying around the home after they have used the substance (Young et. al, 2007, 142).

The parents also try to apply protective factors that, through one way or the other affect the children; these mostly comprise: the presence of a stable adult figure, (who does not use the substance at all or uses it least), close positive bond with at least one adult in a caring role (e.g. parents, older siblings, grandparents), little separation from the primary career in the first year of life, parents’ positive care style and characteristics, being raised in a small family, larger age gaps between siblings, engagement in a range of activities, individual temperament, positive opportunities at times of life transition, and continuing family cohesion and harmony in the face of the misuse and its related effects (e.g. domestic violence, serious mental health problems) (Smith et. al, 2007, 153).Concurrently, these protective factors encourage resilience which is evident due to a number of factors; deliberate planning by the child that their adult life will be different, high self-esteem and confidence, self-efficacy, an ability to deal with change, skills and values that lead to good use of personal ability, a good range of problem-solving skills, feeling that there are choices, feeling in control of own life and previous experience of success and achievement (Little et. al, 2004, 110).

With the knowledge of these different factors and knowing where they result from one can easily establish and come up with a solution and approaches to the different problems considering the unrelated outcomes.

The first step would be establishing an approach that will cover prevention and treatment whose core components will circle around giving a lot of attention on early identification of at-risk families in substance abuse treatment programs (‘prevention is better than cure’) where prevention services are provided to ensure that children are safe and doing well in the home. Parents are also coached and mentored as the go through their treatment, recovery and also parenting; all together, shared family care is offered where the affected child (maltreated) is placed with a host family for support and mentoring too.

There is also provision of inpatient treatment for mothers in the facilities where they can have their children with them and also get first priority access to substance abuse treatment slots.

Some changes should also be included as part of the solution so as to make the collective approach more effectual and successful. These changes include: stationing addiction counsellors in child welfare office all over UK or rather ongoing teams of child welfare and substance abuse workers can be formed; moreover, cross-system partnerships can be developed to ensure that the services being offered are coordinated and well-administered. The public health policy can also involve providing wraparound services that streamline the recovery and reunification; and at the already existing drug courts can be modified to ensure treatment access and therapeutic monitoring of compliance with the given court orders.

Other changes involve conducting cross system training to the personnel offering the services which can be made successful by recruiting (new) and training a diverse workforce which is included in cultural competence. The countries public health sector can also consider exploring various funding stream to support the efforts being put into the matter by maybe using a significant amount state or local funds to get the most out of child welfare funding for substance abuse related services or even making alliances with other organizations that are directly or indirectly related to the matter.


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