Compromised Parenting

Compromised Parenting is a term used to describe situations when parents' capacity to safeguard and appropriately care for their child(ren) is limited, (or compromised), due to the following factors:

  • Domestic Abuse;
  • Substance misuse;
  • Parental Mental Ill Health.

Some of the key findings of the 293 Serious Case Reviews (SCRs) studied in detail from the Pathways to Harm, Pathways to Protection: a triennial analysis of serious case reviews 2011-2014 are:

  • Domestic violence was present in 54% of cases;
  • Substance misuse was present in 47% of cases;
  • Mental ill health was present in 53% of cases.

"Substance misuse, domestic violence and parental mental ill health pose significant risks factors for children. Previous reviews have emphasised that it is the combination of these factors which is particularly toxic".
Brandon, Bailey & Belderson

Domestic Abuse

Domestic abuse (also called domestic violence) is a crime and a major social problem affecting many families. In 90% of reported domestic abuse incidents, children have either been present in the same or a nearby room.

The Government definition of domestic abuse changed on 1st April 2013. To view this definition and for further information on dealing with domestic abuse see the Child Protection Procedures.

To see what we are telling Parent and Carers about Domestic Abuse click here.

To see what we are telling children and young people about Healthy Relationships click here.

Substance Misuse

The National Treatment Agency for Substance Abuse estimates that around 200,000 adults are currently receiving treatment for substance misuse problems and of these one third are parents who have children living with them.

Shropshire's Safeguarding Children Board and the Drug and Alcohol Partnership have developed a Joint Working Protocol which seeks to meet the needs of children and young people affected by parental drug/alcohol misuse.

Further information can also be found on the Child Protection Procedures.

Parental Mental Ill Health

Parental mental illness can significantly impact on family life. All the members of the family are affected if someone in the family has mental illness but research shows that children are especially vulnerable. Where a parent has enduring and / or severe mental ill-health, children in the household are more likely to be at risk of, or experiencing, significant harm.

Parental mental illness does not necessarily have an adverse impact on a child's developmental needs, but it is essential to always assess its implications for each child in the family.

An Ofsted thematic report What About the Children? (March 2013) explored how well adult mental health services and drug and alcohol services considered the impact on children when their parents or carers had mental ill health and/or drug and alcohol problems; and how effectively adult and children's services worked together to safeguard children in these circumstances.

The report states that:

  • At any one time it is estimated that as many as 9 million adults - 1 in 6 of the population - experience mental ill health. It is estimated that 30% of adults with mental ill health have dependent children.

For further information see the resources below.


Relevant Links

Relevant Documents

For further information see Useful Links and Publications.