There are an estimated three million children living in households affected by parental alcohol and/or drug misuse in the UK. Thirty percent of children under 16 live with a binge-drinking parent.
M-PACT Plus was launched in 2013 by The Royal Foundation in partnership with Comic Relief. The project brings together the expertise of Action on Addiction’s M-PACT Plus programme and Place2Be’s delivery network to support children and their families affected by addiction.
The M-PACT Plus eight-week intensive course takes a whole family approach to tackling addiction. It was piloted in four sites in Manchester and Sunderland, Harlow and Islington. Based in primary schools, this programme provides support for children as well as their parents, but also raises awareness of the impact of addiction, drug and alcohol misuse and the importance of intervening early.
In 2014/15, M-PACT Plus reached staff in 77 schools, and worked with 64 adults and 60 children aged 7-19 years in the initial phase of the pilot. The programme also provided expert training on substance misuse and Hidden Harm to over 200 of Place2Be’s counselling workforce.
M-PACT Plus has extended the geographical reach of M-PACT and prior to M-PACT Plus, none of the children were receiving targeted help because of parental substance misuse. M-PACT Plus also provided a gateway to other on-going support, for example 52 children who attended M-PACT Plus received one-to-one counselling before, during or after the course.
There is still a huge stigma that surrounds addiction. Referring and engaging a family to complete M-PACT Plus is a complex process, overcoming a series of emotional and practical obstacles. Therefore, in the next phase of the programme in 2016/17, M-PACT Plus will continue working with families across three of the delivery areas established during the first phase of the pilot (London, North West, North East). A renewed focus will be given to increasing referrals, improving access, and ensuring high retention of families through to course completion.
In addition, during the next phase M-PACT Plus will deliver training for staff drawn from across 100 Place2Be schools, raising awareness and further embedding substance misuse issues, including the challenge of ‘hidden harm’ for children and how to access support. By taking a ‘whole school’ approach to exposing the hidden harm experienced by children, M-PACT Plus can help create a lasting legacy where people understand, feel comfortable and equipped to talk about parental addiction.
- Action on Addiction
- Comic Relief