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Children with Alcoholic Parents (Support) Bill

View of the Houses of Parliament across the river Thames

At the National Association for Children of Alcoholics’ annual David Stafford lecture in February 2016, its patron, Liam Byrne of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Children of Alcoholics, launched his parliamentary campaign calling on the government to change the law to ensure that every part of the UK has a plan to support the UK’s 2.5million children of alcoholics.

The APPG on Children of Alcoholics published ground-breaking research which showed that:

  • No council has a specific strategy to support children of alcoholics
  • Almost no Local Authority is increasing its drug and substance abuse treatment budgets, despite the increases in alcohol related hospital admissions – over a third cut treatment budgets
  • Referrals for alcohol treatment vary widely from 0.4% of a local authority’s estimated number of hazardous drinkers, to 11%.

At a meeting in parliament’s Portcullis House, Byrne recently published a proposal for a new law, the Children with Alcoholic Parents (Support) Bill, which would:

  • Appoint a minister with national responsibility for policy to support children of alcoholics, with the power to coordinate specified health and social services
  • Require an annual national strategy to support children of alcoholics
  • Require councils and the NHS, in every part of the country, to set out the scale of the challenge with hazardous drinking parents in their area, to set out a coordinated plan to support children of alcoholics, and to publish budgets for treatment and support, organised in a national league table.

The text of Liam Byrne’s Ten Minute Rule Bill:

“Children with Alcoholic Parents (Support) Bill;
That leave be given to bring in a Bill to make provision about the care and support of children with one or more alcoholic parents; to provide for the allocation of a duty to coordinate specified health and social services to a specific Minister; to establish a national strategy and a system of annual reporting of performance by local authorities against relevant objectives and targets within such a strategy; to oblige local authorities to provide specified other data on children with one or more alcoholic parents in their area; and for connected purposes.”

What you can do:

Write to your MP (www.theyworkfor you.com) and ask them to sign Early Day Motion (EDM) 750:
“That this House notes that alcohol harm costs the UK £21 billion a year; further notes that alcohol misuse is now Britain’s third biggest health problem after smoking and obesity, costing the NHS alone £3.5 billion a year; recognises that just one in 20 dependent drinkers receives treatment; believes that all too often the 2.6 million children of hazardous drinkers are forgotten; notes that children of hazardous drinkers suffer a range of mental health issues, are more likely to consider suicide, are more prone to eating disorders and are far more likely than most to become alcoholics themselves; and calls on the Government to bring in a strategy to help children of alcoholics, specifying concrete steps by which public agencies should identify children of alcoholics in order to connect them with sources of support and to undertake a public information campaign aimed at parents who are hazardous drinkers, warning them of the risks to their children’s health and to ensure that the right provision is in place in every part of Britain that will provide treatment to parents seeking help with alcohol dependence.”