Our shared vision for children, young people and families in Scotland is to ensure that they have the best possible chances in their lives and where needed, they receive the right care, help and protection. For some families, the challenges in achieving this are great. Few challenges are as daunting as supporting families where there are problem alcohol and/or drug use issues.
Alcohol and drug use can result in significant and complex risks for children and young people and in some cases, lives that are greatly damaged as a result. But addressing these issues presents practitioners with some of the most difficult tasks that our health and care services can face.
That is why we believe it essential that practitioners have access to useful, practical and up-to-date guidance that can support the difficult actions and decisions that often have to be made in this area. Furthermore, the time is right to review our dedicated guidance for all children's and adult service practitioners working with vulnerable children and families where problem alcohol and/or drug use is a factor: Getting Our Priorities Right.
This guidance is grounded in the core principles that govern our common approach to improving services for children, adults and families.
- It recognises that early intervention is critical if we want to ensure that problems in vulnerable families do not become more damaging and more difficult to address later.
- It is steeped on our Getting it right for every child approach to services, not least the principles of joined-up working across the public sector and putting the child and the family at the heart of all service design and delivery.
- It complements the revised National Child Protection Guidance, which was published in December 2010.
- Lastly, it supports the wider Recovery Agenda for families facing substance use issues, ensuring that child protection, recovery and wider family support concerns are brought together as part of a coordinated approach to giving children, young people and families the best support possible.
The guidance is part of a wider programme of actions we are taking on early intervention, supporting vulnerable children and young people, and tackling alcohol and drug problems. As with our National Child Protection Guidance, it has been written by practitioners for practitioners. I commend its use to you.
Email: Graeme Hunter