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Good Practice Guidance for working with Children and Families affected by Substance Misuse

DescriptionGetting Our Priorities Right is guidance for everyone who has an interest in the well-being of children and families.
Official Print Publication Date
Website Publication DateFebruary 26, 2003


Getting our Priorities Right:
Good Practice Guidance for working with Children and Families affected by Substance Misuse

This document is also available in pdf format (608k)

Good Practice Guidance for working with Children and Families affected by Substance Misuse


Ministerial Foreword
Part 1: Describing the Problem
Who are we talking about?
How do drugs and alcohol affect individuals?
Drug users in Scotland
Alcohol use in Scotland
Drug misuse and pregnancy
How many children are affected by their parents' substance abuse?
The impact of parents' substance misuse on their children
Infancy and pre-school years
Primary school years
Secondary school years
Protective factors
Part 2: Deciding when Children need Help
Guiding principles
What agencies should look for - gathering information
How parental substance misuse might affect children
Comprehensive assessment
Substance misuse problems and mental health
Regular reviews
Part 3: Working Together to Tackle Problems
Parents as partners
Inter-agency plans for family support
Difficulties in maintaining contact and seeing children
How can I tell if a child needs protection from harm?
Care planning
Harnessing support from extended family
Mending relationships
Part 4: Sharing Information and Confidentiality
The legal position
Confidentiality in practice
What kind of information?
Asking for, and giving, information
What to say to families when sharing information without consent
Fostering good communication between agencies
Part 5: Strengthening Services for Families
Support for parents and families
Support for children
Young carers
Part 6: Building Strong Inter-Agency Partnerships
Planning services for parents with substance misuse and their children
Putting local policies and protocols in place
Links between substance-related and children's services
Strengthening collaboration through training
What is being done already
Appendix I: Legal Framework
Statutory duties upon local authorities
The Children (Scotland) Act 1995
Child protection inquiries (Section 53)
Duty to provide local authority accommodation (Section 25)
Child Protection Order (Section 57)
Exclusion Order (Section 76)
Child Assessment Order (Section 55)
Emergency Protection Measures (Section 61)
Appendix II: Checklist of Information to be Collated Concerning Substance Misuse and its Impact on Parenting
Children in the family - provision of good basic care
Describing parental substance use
Accommodation and the home environment
Procurement of drugs
Health risks
If the parent(s) inject
Family and social supports
Parents' perception of the situation
Appendix III: Substance Misuse in Pregnancy
Effects of drug use on pregnancy
Amphetamines and Ecstasy
Assessing pregnant women with substance misuse
Vulnerable Infants Project (VIP)
Good practice in maternity care
Appendix IV: Blood-Borne Viruses
Hepatitis viruses
Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV)
Routes of transmission
Viral transmission and prevention
Appendix V: Useful Organisations and Websites
Appendix VI: Advisory Group Members