I find it odd that there are no targets in relation to the crucial groups of children who suffer from parental substance misuse. Surely there is no better performance indicator like reducing the number of children who end up on the child protection register.
I know that there is a desire and some investment in Social Care Services to be involved in preventative work and early intervention. The reality of financial pressures and demands on staff mean that they often focus on children whose situations have reached crisis point. Unless we focus on the reasons why children come into care and see the building of stronger and more stable families as a key policy objective we will continue to be faced with unappealing alternatives. Children get born into and trapped in a cycle of addiction. Iceni is about breaking the cycle and believe strongly that we have to start now with the next generation.
Sadly, substance misusing families and their children continue to fall into a gap between child protection services and adult-oriented community drug teams. Their needs go unmet and the gap between need and provision could not be wider and there still remains a painful lack of investment in and provision of, interagency work between child protection, substance abuse and family work that concentrates on prevention and early intervention .
Iceni work at the sharp end with families where children are being born into generational addiction, squalor and neglect for their well being. We address such issues with smart, professional and caring interventions that are well targeted to those families who are hardest to reach as many families do not attend children and family centres and are not known to local services. Often Iceni are used as a last resort, the families have failed to respond to other interventions that have been offered. Some parents have had several children removed from their care previously, and risk the removal of others however, the positive outcomes Iceni are producing and the potential for change is becoming indisputable.
I support the government’s attempt to try and tackle this problem and this government has rightly intervened to help children of problem families for the sake of our future society. I greatly welcome the news that much needed money is to be made available to families who need support, however, critical to the success of this initiative is to ensure this support gets to where it is most needed and is not tied up in endless bureaucracy and form filling.
Potential billions will be saved as highlighted in the Graham Allen MP report if sensible investment is made into families at the earliest possible time when problems emerge. I believe Iceni are well placed to deliver such interventions as this government appear keen to implement.
Requisite funding for those referred to and accepted by Iceni is an ongoing battle which will continue in 2012. However, the very high levels of commitment, persistence and enterprise of dedicated specialist trustees, staff and volunteers will ensure we continue to help those whose needs have been neglected for far to long.
All the best wishes and a healthy and fulfilling 2012 from everyone involved at Iceni.
And finally.... my mate Bob drank to much last Christmas Eve and had to walk home. He was already long overdue home and whilst he was wobbling along, he was stopped by a policeman.
'What are you doing out here at two o'clock in the morning?' asked the police officer.
'I'm on my way to a lecture,' answered Peter.
'And who on earth, in their right mind, is going to give a lecture at this time on Christmas Eve?' enquired the constable policeman
'My wife, slurred Bob