The services offered by the SAND CYMRU family service 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. SAND CYMRU 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.
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
SAND CYMRU now employs a team of experienced and qualified family workers who will work hand in hand with colleagues from Swansea social services and other child welfare organisations to ensure that children are not put at risk or neglected as a result of their parents drug or alcohol misuse.