Drug and alcohol services - improving holistic family support

This paper seeks to provide a framework, in line with the national drug/alcohol strategy Rights, Respect and Recovery (RRR) and linked policy

initiatives for the development of a consistent approach for families affected by substance use.

11. What we need Alcohol and Drug Partnerships to do

"Family members want to be treated as fellow human beings, with sensitive use of language and with an acknowledgement that they are the 'expert' on their unique set of challenges."

This section focuses on what Alcohol and Drug Partnerships (ADPs) and other local partners should do to Implement a Whole Family Approach and Family Inclusive Practice including:

  • Auditing existing provision in terms of quantity, quality and reach
  • Working collaboratively to strengthen and expand service provision in their area
  • Ensure that the expertise, views and needs of families are included from the outset

11.1 Alcohol and Drug Partnerships are pivotal key strategic catalysts for change, insofar as they can bring service leaders together, collectively assess the evidence and need for change and provide sources of investment in service design and improvement and encourage pooling of resources for shared priorities. However, it is the role of organisations within the ADP to work together in partnership to establish a common purpose and commitment to contribute to creating the conditions for change and improvement in expanding access to whole family approaches that we seek to achieve here. In doing so ADPs should work closely with the local Children's Services Planning Partnership to agree a local approach which:

  • Establishes a baseline understanding of current provision of family support services through mapping, audit and critical assessment of what is currently available in the local area to support children, young people and adult family members affected by alcohol and drug use. This includes family members affected by their own alcohol and drug use and those harmed by others' use. This work should include:
    • Quantity, quality and reach should all be assessed. This exercise should take account of support delivered by paid workers, volunteers and peers, including mutual aid/ fellowships.
    • This audit should complement and contribute to the local joint strategic needs assessment undertaken as part of duties under Pt 3 of the Children and Young People (Scotland) Act in relation to developing and reviewing Children's Services Plans.
    • Establishing proposals for filling gaps in provision and improving quality of available services and corresponding outcomes for families and children and young people.

In response to these findings ADPs and Children's Services Planning Partnership should work across local partners, together with family members with lived experience to:

  • Ensure there is a range of evidence-based family support options available locally which understands trauma and its impact, and the role of relationships in recovery to support children, young people and adults. This is likely to require additional investment to ensure each member of the whole family is supported in their own right, and all relationships are recognised.
  • Adapt and change local guidance, procedures and practice to align with this Framework, and then subsequently implement those adaptations and changes along with family members who have lived experience.
  • Ensure that all family support provisions are evidence-based, person-centred, strengths-based, and recognises families as a key asset to nurture and protect children and promote and support recovery.
  • Ensure families have access to services which are able to support them in their own right and not as solely a mechanism to improve treatment and recovery outcomes (even though this may be an important outcome).
  • Actively promote all family support options across a range of local services, platforms and networks, to ensure everyone knows what is available and how it can be accessed. This should be non-stigmatising and emphasise the confidentiality of support.
  • Ensure the whole workforce across alcohol and drug services, children's services and adult services are effectively trained in family inclusive practice and whole family approaches. Such work should compliment and tie in with training planned within the children's services, adult services and public protection frameworks. Delivery should be multi agency in its approach, with joint planning, training and events, which builds on and compliments that which is required by individual employers/single agencies.
  • Improve joint work when considering the needs of families who are affected by both domestic abuse and alcohol and drug use, there are significant advantages in ADPs and Violence Against Women Partnerships (VAWPs) co-ordinating their activities and collaborating effectively towards common goals.
  • Ensure that the inter-relationship between Domestic Violence, Alcohol and drug use, and Mental Health is recognised and can contribute to poor outcomes for children. These three factors can be further exacerbated by poverty. This highlights the need for clear strategic and operational partnership working.
  • Develop trauma-informed leadership approaches and upskilling our workforces in trauma-informed and trauma-responsive practice using the resources provided through the National Trauma Training Programme.
  • Keep the Promise and support the delivery of the commitments within this to compassionately collaborate, to move towards broad, engaging and relational approaches in supporting families, and to embrace whole family approaches together with Children's Services Planning Partnerships.

11.2 In line with Commitment C3 in Rights, Respect and Recovery (2018), family members should be involved in the planning, development and delivery of these actions.



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