Newport project to help families with addictions

FAMILIES in Newport in which a parent or parents has an alcohol or drug problem, will be targeted for help as part of an ambitious new support service.

Integrated Family Support Services (IFSS) are being tested in four parts of Wales to help families with complex needs and improve children’s safety.

Unique to Wales, the starting point for IFSS is that families carrying such problems often face multiple disadvantages which require highly specialist and intensive support.

The service brings together a team of skilled professionals and others drawn from social care and health care with experience in children’s and adult services, including a consultant social worker.

Team members will spend more time working directly with families than under previous arrangements, and while initial referrals will be for families where the parent’s main problem is alcohol or drug misuse, the aim is to expand this to include those in which a parent has a mental illness or learning disability, or where domestic violence is involved.

The Newport IFSS is backed by a three-year, £1.8 million Assembly grant. The aim is to introduce such teams Wales-wide by 2013.

“Substance misuse destroys families and it is often children who bear the brunt of its consequences,” said Gwenda Thomas, deputy minister for social services.

“If we are to break the cycle of disadvantage that blights these families, over several generations in some cases, our approach must be to adapt our workforce and integrate our services so parents are given the support to care for their children and also better care for themselves.

“Our aim through the IFSS is to keep the family together by empowering them to take positive steps to change and improve their lives and this can only be good for our society.”