Thursday, 25 June 2009

Why is there no reference to substance misuse?

The Joseph Rountree Foundation study on ‘What is needed to end Child Poverty in Wales? [by 2020] written by Victoria Wrickler of the Bevan Foundation (see Daily Dose, 25/06/09) comes to the following conclusion:

"The evidence is clear that radical changes in
employment, childcare, skills and the taxation and
benefits system are needed if the UK is to eradicate
child poverty by 2020. Whilst some of these changes
will be led by the UK Government, the Welsh Assembly
Government also has a crucial role to play. This
suggests that to meet the specific target of eradicating
income poverty amongst children the Welsh Assembly
Government will need to focus its strategy on:
• providing help for parents to find employment,
through both DWP welfare-to-work programmes
and its own initiatives, if necessary seeking additional
powers to manage DWP programmes;
• dramatically improving childcare provision, including
that for school-age children as well as under-fives,
and enhancing support for carers who wish to work;
• promoting flexible and good quality employment,
including family-friendly working and decent pay,
particularly in the public sector;
• encouraging employers to participate in Local
Employer Partnerships;
• considerably enhancing the skills and qualifications of
adults, taking account of specific needs of parents;
• reviewing the benefits, grants and allowances
controlled by the Welsh Assembly Government and
increasing take-up of Welsh and UK benefits.
In addition, if the Welsh Assembly Government wishes
to meet its commitment to eradicate child poverty
by 2020 it will need to introduce and resource a
comprehensive range of other policies. It has already
made a start in addressing child poverty in education,
but this is by no means the only important area. Health
is another key policy area, with poor child health being
closely associated with child poverty ((NPHS, 2007), yet
it has received considerably less attention."

But what has received no attention whatsoever in this report is the impact of Substance Misuse on Child Poverty in Wales.

All children of alcoholics, for example, are affected by their parents’ drinking (Velleman, 2001, p.179). Problems can develop such as: withdrawal, crying, illness, sexual abuse, aggression, delinquency, and drug and alcohol abuse. Academic performance deteriorates, and there could be problems with anti-social behaviour, school environment problems, etc.

Alcoholism and drug dependence is a family illness and years of living with an alcoholic (and/or drug dependent person) are almost sure to make any wife [husband/partner] or child neurotic – it’s also inevitable that it impacts on Child Poverty. Why is there no reference to this in this report? And why has this report failed to make that connection?

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