The Alcohol and Families Alliance (AFA) has published Families First, a policy report examining the impact alcohol has on families and children in the UK and the gaps in support, making policy recommendations for closing those gaps. The report finds that while almost 200,000 children live with at least one alcohol-dependent adult, there is very patchy provision of support nationally, and for families affected by alcohol, and that training is needed to help professionals identify parental drinking problems and show families where to get help.
Alongside this, Families First raises concerns with alcohol’s position in wider society – particularly its increased availability in recent years – and how this works against families hoping to avoid harm. It calls for action on the price of alcohol, such as minimum unit pricing which has been introduced in Scotland.
The report also found many barriers for those caring for a family member, or the child of a family member, with an alcohol use problem. Many of these carers suffer financial hardship due to their caring roles, and some – caring for another family member’s children – are not entitled to the same rights and benefits as other carers.
The AFA is calling on government to increase the Carer’s Allowance to ensure carers do not suffer financial hardship, and for carers looking after children in their own family to receive the same rights, support, and benefits as foster carers.