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Parent alcohol abuse puts children at risk

18th October 2010

Alcohol Concern and the Children's Society have said that many children in the UK are being neglected because of their parents' drinking problems.

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The charities have called for care workers to be given additional training on how to cope with alcoholism in families.

The charities' report said an estimated 2.6 million children were living with a parent whose alcohol problems could cause them to be neglected.

According to the results of a poll carried out by Alcohol Concern in the summer, most respondents said alcohol abuse had a "negative impact" on children.

The two charities said that the problem was much bigger than people realised.

The report said that parents were deemed to be "hazardous" drinkers due to the amount or how frequently they drank, or if drinking interfered with their ability to look after their children.

Of the 2.6 million children at risk, 700,000 were children of parents deemed to be alcoholics.

Research has shown that one third of social workers had not been trained on how to deal with alcoholics or drug abusers in families, and of the rest, 50% had received three hours training.

Bob Reitemeier, the chief executive of The Children's Society, said: "I cannot stress strongly enough the harmful impact that substance abuse can have on both children and whole families - it is imperative that everyone understands these risks and we believe that education is the key."

"We are calling on the government to make sure that everyone who needs either training or education to deal with parental substance abuse is given the appropriate assistance."

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