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Addictions of parents cause children harm
11:00am Tuesday 31st July 2012 in News
AT-RISK children in Worcestershire are suffering because more and more of their parents abuse drugs or alcohol, according to new data.
“Dysfunctional” families are being blamed for a sharp rise in the number of youngsters in need of help from the county council.
In the 2010/11 financial year, 307 “child protection conferences” were launched – meetings where council chiefs decide what to do about an at-risk youngster.
In 40 per cent of all cases at least one parent was known to be abusing drugs or alcohol, or a combination of both. The overall number of child protection conferences has leapt eight per cent in two years, while the percentage of those cases where booze or druginfluenced parents is a factor has surged by 6.2 per cent.
The information was revealed during a meeting of the the Conservative cabinet at County Hall in Worcester.
The meeting came just days after this newspaper reported how 1,500 children across the county drink dangerous levels of alcohol.
Councillor Fran Oborski, a Liberal Democrat, said: “The problems of drug and alcohol abuse are well documented – we saw with the recent headlines what an issue it is.
“It would appear too many young people have got problems with alcohol before they reach secondary school.
“In many cases, it’s been tolerated by their parents but in some cases dysfunctional families are actively encouraging it.”
The report before the cabinet warned of the dangers of the findings, stating “the children of drug-using parents are likely to be the next generation of drug users.”
They agreed to back a motion by the Lib Dems saying a fresh campaign will start in the county over drug and alcohol abuse.
The motion says “neglect by parents whose lifestyle embraces drug and alcohol abuse” is a major factor in children being taken into care.
Coun Marcus Hart, cabinet member for health, said: “There’s no doubt it is a very important issue – we should do absolutely everything we can to reduce drug and alcohol usage, which can be linked, in part, to parental neglect.”
Coun Maddy Bunker, a backbench Conservative, said drug and booze abusers led “chaotic lives”.
Child protection conferences must be held when the council believes a youngster is at risk of harm.