Children and young people affected by drugs and alcohol speak out “It starts with listening to their story….”

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“I didn’t really want to talk about what went on at home at the time, but now it’s a bit easier because it’s starting to feel like something that happened in the past.” (young person aged 12-15)

The Foundation (through the Partnership Drugs Initiative) recently launched Everyone Has a Story, the culmination of a unique action learning project aimed at hearing the voices and experiences of children and young people affected by parental recovery from problematic substance use. The action learning was a collaboration with children and young people and practitioners.

By listening to children and young people we have discovered that they are aware of their parents’ drug and alcohol problems, but have little knowledge or understanding about recovery. Instead, children and young people relate to the concept of change – change in living situations, change in the family dynamic and change in relationships.

“…there is not enough shared understanding between children and adult services…”

(practitioner perspective)

Everyone Has a Story has four components: what we hear from the stories and experiences; what practitioners tell us; how young people could share their story; and what the evidence tells us. It contains rich insights for policy and practice and recommendations for everyone who could have an impact on improving the lives of children and young people affected by recovery.

“Mum looks better, she tells me off now. I have to go to school and mum does normal things like cooking. Dad is more interested in what I am doing at school, there is more money to do nice things as a family.” (story told to practitioner)

The project was also supported by the Scottish Government and The Robertson Trust.  The action learning set and young people’s work was facilitated by Evaluation Support Scotland Icecream Architecture.

For more information please contact Elaine Wilson by email or on 0131 444 4025.