Developing an immediate safety plan when there is alcohol and other drugs use
Some things to remember when you are assessing safety with a family and developing an immediate safety plan for a child are:
- Ensure the parent is not affected by alcohol or drugs when developing an immediate safety plan as they must have the ability to consent to the plan.
- Be realistic—Think about the parent’s level of problematic alcohol and other drugs use and the nature of their use. Parents who come to the attention of Child Safety are more likely to have chaotic, reactive, opportunistic and persistent use. You need to consider this when developing your safety plan.
- Do not use alcohol or drug testing as a safety plan action. Testing only lets you know what substance a parent is using. It does not create safety for a child. Alcohol and other drugs testing is best used in case planning when you are working with the parents to create lasting change.
- Be purposeful and transparent in safety plan actions to keep a child safe. For example, require parents to:
- have a strategy for storing drugs safely and cleaning up paraphernalia
- stop other alcohol and other drugs users attending the home
- not take their children with them when buying drugs
- nominate specific safe adults who can care for children when they are using or coming down
- carry out safe sleeping practices
- develop strategies for breastfeeding and feeding a baby to minimise the risk of co-sleeping
- have a safe adult stay with the family.
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