SCIE media statement

Parental substance misuse - new elearning materials for social workers

12 October 2011

Parental substance misuse is an important issue that social workers encounter frequently. However, one survey suggests that most have had no formal training on the issue of substance misuse.  One study estimated that between 250,00 and 350,000 children in the UK had a parent who was a problem drug user, and that 62% of children subject to care proceedings had a substance misusing parent. 

The Social Care Institute for Excellence’s (SCIE) Parental substance misuse elearning resource is designed to support social workers responsible for ‘children in need’ when working with families where a parent or parents are misusing drugs or alcohol. 

The elearning resource will provide social workers with enough information to be able to make judgements about the possible impact on children that they are responsible for.  The modules are presented in an accessible and engaging way. They look at:

Emma Pawson, National families and Young People Manager at the National Treatment Agency (NTA) says:

Recovery-focused drug treatment delivered in collaboration with children’s and adult social care reduces safeguarding risks and helps addicted parents stabilise, recover and look after their children.  This new online training is an important step towards providing the workforce with the knowledge and skills to assess and support the needs of parents who are affected by substance misuse.  It’s vital that services work together to provide multi agency support to minimise harm to the most vulnerable young people. 

Amanda Edwards, SCIE’s Deputy Chief Executive says:

Approximately one third of children who were considered by a serious case review between 2009 and 2010 had a substance misusing parent.   SCIE’s elearning resource includes the child’s perspective, looking at what they say about the experience of living with a parent who is misusing drugs or alcohol.  It is vital that social workers understand the impact that parental substance misuse can have on a family and a child’s developmental needs.


Media contact

Steve Palmer | Press and Public Affairs Manager | Tel: 020 7766 7419 | Mob: 07739 458 192 | Email: