All Babies Count: spotlight on drugs and alcohol How babies are affected by parents' substance abuse and what can be done to help

Baby with toysOur spolight on drugs and alcohol looks at what is known about babies affected by parental substance misuse, what effective or promising interventions are available, and what can be done to change policy in the area.

This report is part of our All Babies Count spotlight series on issues that affect families from pregnancy through the first years of life. 

Authors: Gwynne Rayns, Sharon Dawe and Chris Cuthbert
Published: 2013

  • Parental substance misuse can harm children’s development both directly, through exposure to substances in utero, and indirectly, through its impact on parenting capacity
  • The NSPCC is currently trialling Parents Under Pressure (PUP), one of the first large scale studies to examine the effectiveness of a programme targeting the parenting of substance-dependent parents of infants.
  • Policy makers need to prioritise the needs of children and babies of substance abusing parents, and encourage an integrated, evidence-based and effective response.
Introduction  4
Insight: A critical period  6
Innovation: Weaving together treatment and parenting treatments  8
Impact: Meeting the needs of babies in policy and practice  12
Conclusions  15
Notes  16

All Babies Count Spotlight series

Our Spotlight reports are a series of papers on the developmental importance of pregnancy and infancy published as part of the NSPCC’s All Babies Count campaign.

All Babies Count aims to raise awareness of the importance of pregnancy and the first years of life to a child’s development. The NSPCC is calling for better early support for parents during this period to ensure all babies are safe and able to thrive.

Each Spotlight focuses on a different issue that affects families with babies and looks at what can be done to support parents to keep their infants safe and give them the care they need.

View All Babies Count Spotlight series

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Family Environment: Drug Using Parents (FEDUP)

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