This paper provides an overview of the research literature on the outcomes of children raised in families with multiple problems including parental substance misuse. The authors argue that until we have accurate mechanisms for estimating the extent of the problem and policies that include a focus on children and families within the drug and alcohol field, organisational change will be difficult to achieve. Importantly, the field can develop "evidence-informed" treatments but until this becomes core business in drug and alcohol services little is likely to change for the many children living in families with parental substance misuse.
It is well established that children raised in families with parental substance misuse often have poor developmental outcomes. However, parental substance abuse co-exists with other risk and protective factors across multiple areas of family life and it is the sum of these various influences that determine the outcomes of children. In this paper we:
* review the multiple risk and protective factors impacting on child outcomes in families with parental substance misuse;
* consider the extent of the problem and data available on the numbers of children affected;
* examine the place of children and families in national, state and territory policy; and
* review the treatment literature to determine whether there is sufficient information for services to develop an "evidence-informed" approach to treatment.