Our shared vision for our children, young people and their families is to work towards Scotland being the best possible place in which to grow up. For many, that means ensuring they have the best possible chances in their lives the right care, help and protection - but for some, the challenges in achieving this are great. Few challenges are as daunting as supporting families where there are problem alcohol and/or drug use.
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. 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. The time is right to review our dedicated guidance for all children's and adult service practitioners working with vulnerable children, young people 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 in our Getting It Right For Every Child approach to delivering 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 National Guidance for Child Protection.
- Lastly, it supports the wider recovery agenda for families facing problematic alcohol or drug use issues, ensuring that child protection, recovery and wider family support concerns are brought together as part of a co-ordinated 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.
Minister for Children and Young People