Projects that support children across the North West who live with alcohol dependent parents are to benefit from more than £1million of additional funding.
The £1,159,386 additional funding, which comes from a £4.5 million innovation fund from the Department of Health and Social Care and the Department for Work and Pensions, managed by PHE, will be split between projects in St Helens, Knowsley, s and Greater Manchester.
'St Helens Building Bridges' programme, which will work with children’s services and schools to develop a whole-system response to supporting children of alcohol dependent parents, will benefit from £255,348 additional funding.
Knowsley has secured £372,000 funding which will be used for a range of initiatives including Me Time; a project which helps young people take part in dance, arts, music, volunteering, and training opportunities in a safe environment as well as accessing healthcare and emotional support.
In Greater Manchester, £532,038 will support alcohol dependent parents leaving prison, offering further support to their affected children in Rochdale, Bolton, Bury, Salford, and Trafford.
In addition, PHE is announcing a call for bids for a share of a £6m capital fund for local authorities, which can be used to improve services and facilities for people with alcohol problems.
PHE is encouraging local authorities to submit an application to bid for money by January 21, 2019 - with successful projects announced next spring and money being made available in 2019/20.
The winning projects have been selected for demonstrating a new and creative approach to reach and support families whose lives have been affected by alcohol.
It is estimated that there are 200,000 children in England living with 120,000 parents who have alcohol problems. PHE’s recent annual treatment statistics show that there were 16,000 adults receiving treatment for alcohol who were living with children and a further 18,000 who are parents but not currently living with their children. The figures show that the vast majority (82%) of children with parents receiving alcohol treatment weren’t receiving support from children’s social care.
The impact of having a parent with an alcohol problem on the lives of children can be devastating. An analysis of serious case reviews (where a child was seriously hurt or killed) found that 37 per cent recorded alcohol as a contributing factor.
Alcohol is also often a major contributor to parental conflict, which can lead to a range of poor outcomes for children including being detrimental on their education and employment opportunities and harmful on their health. The Government is committed to reducing conflict between parents and this funding forms part of a new Reducing Parental Conflict Programme which encourages local areas across England to integrate approaches addressing parental conflict into local services for families.
Commenting on the innovation fund winning projects, Dr Rebecca Wagstaff, Deputy Director Health and Wellbeing at PHE North West, said: “We know that there are around 200,000 children across the country living with a parent with alcohol problems. Not only is it tearing their lives apart now, it can often follow them into adulthood and cause endless personal problems.
“There is some fantastic, innovative work taking place across the North West that is helping to tackle this problem daily. I’m delighted that we’re able to announce three North West winners and support them in reaching out and giving much needed help to these vulnerable children.”