Setting up a service

A major barrier to organisations wishing to develop services to children and families of problem alcohol (and drug) users is the lack of collated information on how to do so. Organisations (specialist and generic) wishing to set-up a service or dedicated post have no guidance available on how to undertake such work.

The Toolkit developed by Mental Health Research & Development Unit of University of Bath aims to provide guidance on developing and delivering services to children and families who are affected by substance misuse, and will be of use to:

  • Specialist alcohol services,
  • Generic health, social care, and both adult and child mental health services/ organisations; and
  • Others (e.g. charitable organisations) interested in, or in the process of, developing a service for children and families who are affected by substance misuse.

 Go to the Toolkit

Below you will find a list of some general principles that you would need to consider if you are thinking of developing or extending services into this area.

  • Getting funding. Identifying and engaging key stakeholders and policymakers is important here. Consider identifying funding for evaluation as well as for the service itself.
  • Having a clear idea of who the target group for your service is.
  • Developing or extending your service in line with the research/evidence based. Consider collaboration with researchers to help with this. Consider also ongoing collaboration to have a built-in evaluation component that runs alongside the development and early months of your service.
  • Consider what kind of theoretical model (or mix of aspects form several models) that you might want to use and hence what kind of service you might offer. Consider individual work, art/play therapy, specific approaches to build resilience, family therapy, solution-focused approaches, motivational work etc.
  • Consider talking to other workers and services in the field to see what their experience is, and perhaps get some tips and advice about tools to use, evaluation etc.
  • Consider the involvment of service users in the further development of your service; perhaps to sit on the Management board for example.