Case reviews highlight that professionals often focus on the issues faced by parents who misuse substances without considering the impact on their children. Substance misuse by a parent or carer is widely recognised as one of the factors that puts children more at risk of harm. The biggest risk posed to children is that parents, when under the influence of drugs or alcohol, are unable to keep their child safe (including overlay through co-sleeping and accidents caused through lack of supervision).
Many of the learning and recommendations contained in the serious case reviews repeat lessons from numerous other reviews. Reviews emphasise that professionals need to conduct child-centred assessments, and continue to reassess the potential risks that children in substance misusing households face.
Published: November 2013
Our series of thematic briefings highlight the learning from case reviews conducted when a child dies, or is seriously harmed, as a result of abuse or neglect. Each briefing focuses on a different topic or learning for specific sectors, pulling together key risk factors and practice recommendations.
We work with local safeguarding partners to ensure that learning from case reviews can be accessed and shared at a local, regional and national level.
Find out how you can apply the lessons from case reviews and improve your practice to help protect children and young people.
Browse through our list of child safeguarding practice reviews, serious case reviews, significant case reviews and child practice reviews which were added to the National case review repository between 2017 and 2023.
Learn about how long-term misuse of drugs and/or alcohol by parents and carers can affect children and what support is available for parents misusing substances.
Gain an insight into how trauma such as abuse and neglect can affect a child’s brain development and how to overcome adverse childhood experiences.