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Children of alcoholics to get fast access to mental health services

Children of alcoholics will get faster access to mental health services under plans announced by the Department of Health and Social Care.

The DHSC said its new package of measures is aimed to help some 200,000 children in England living with alcohol-dependent parents.

This includes a £4.5m ‘innovation fund’ for local authorities to set up new services, £1m for charities to complement their work via training and raising awareness, and £1m already announced towards child helplines.

The Government pledged new measures including:

  • Rapid access to mental health services and support for children and their whole families where there is a dependent drinker.
  • Funding to identify and support at risk children more quickly – including those undertaking inappropriate care responsibilities.
  • Outreach programmes to get more parents successfully through addiction treatment.
  • Early intervention programmes to reduce the numbers of children needing to go into care.

The Government has also appointed primary care and public health minister Steve Brine as a dedicated minister with specific responsibility for children with alcohol-dependent parents.

Health and social care secretary Jeremy Hunt said: ‘These measures will ensure thousands of children affected by their parent’s alcohol dependency have access to the support they need and deserve.’

A DHSC spokesperson said: ‘While the package focuses on an innovation fund for local authorities and more support for an existing helpline, GPs have an important role to play here. GPs are integral in signposting people to the right services, as well as identifying and considering the needs of children who might be at risk or suffering harm as a result of their parents’ dependence.

‘We would expect local authorities to consider how GPs could potentially be utilised to help address this issue.’


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