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Hello everyone,

 

What would you do if you noticed over a period of time that a parent had obviously been drinking alcohol? Mostly at collection at 5.30, but sometimes when dropping off after 9am.

 

Your thoughts and advice would be greatly appreciated.

 

Many thanks.

 

Lesley

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Silly question i know but the parent is not driving are they if they where we have in the past had to report parents to the police who have obviously taken it from there (pulled over and breathalysed SP) If the parent is not driving I think i would probarly take advice from our local early years team on the best approach to take we have had many discussions about this in the past and had quite a few different points of view.

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Silly question i know but the parent is not driving are they if they where we have in the past had to report parents to the police who have obviously taken it from there (pulled over and breathalysed SP) If the parent is not driving I think i would probarly take advice from our local early years team on the best approach to take we have had many discussions about this in the past and had quite a few different points of view.

Not a silly question - yes, the parent is driving. Should I contact the police and as you say, let them take it from there? Can't let this continue as I am so worried that the child might be injured and I had not taken any action.

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Our policy states that we will not release a child to anyone who appears to be under the influence of drink/drugs. Unfortunately we have had to enforce this on 2 occasions. Very difficult situation for all concerned but the safety of the child must come first.

If this parent is driving, there is also a wider safety issue and this should be reported to the police.

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I'm sure it says in our policy that children won't be released to an adult who has obviously been drinking - shall I have a look for you?

Probably best if Lesley checks her policy Cait! :o

 

When you say that the parent has obviously been drinking, are you certain the signs can't be mistaken for something else? I know that there are illnesses that make you appear drunk, and certain medications make the patient smell as if they've been drinking.

 

I agree with what everyone else has said - there is the question of whether this parent is capable of looking after her child if she is drunk, but also the danger to the wider community if she is driving home.

 

It sounds as if an honest conversation needs to take place here - I don't know where you stand legally if you know someone is driving whilst over the legal limit, but certainly you have a duty of care towards the child.

 

Get advice from your early years team or the duty social worker to find out what you should do the next time this happens - but depending on your relationship with the parent, I'd had a word with her first.

 

And if your policy doesn't state that you will not release a child into the care of an adult who is or appears to be under the influence of drugs or alcohol, then I'd look into changing it!

 

Good luck - not an enviable position to be in is it?

 

Maz

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Probably best if Lesley checks her policy Cait! :o

 

When you say that the parent has obviously been drinking, are you certain the signs can't be mistaken for something else? I know that there are illnesses that make you appear drunk, and certain medications make the patient smell as if they've been drinking.

 

I agree with what everyone else has said - there is the question of whether this parent is capable of looking after her child if she is drunk, but also the danger to the wider community if she is driving home.

 

It sounds as if an honest conversation needs to take place here - I don't know where you stand legally if you know someone is driving whilst over the legal limit, but certainly you have a duty of care towards the child.

 

Get advice from your early years team or the duty social worker to find out what you should do the next time this happens - but depending on your relationship with the parent, I'd had a word with her first.

 

And if your policy doesn't state that you will not release a child into the care of an adult who is or appears to be under the influence of drugs or alcohol, then I'd look into changing it!

 

Hi Maz

 

I have gone through all the thought processes you outline above. She doesn't appear drunk or insensible, other than a little over the top when greeting and making much of the child. She does however give off a very strong whiff of alcohol. Others have suggested it might be mouthwash or, as you say, medicine. At one stage, I had a call from her re the child's behaviour (which has been causing some concerns in recent months) and I took the bull by the horns then and asked if everything was all right, to which the answer came back that it was. This has all been documented and given to the CP officer.

 

I have a good parent-key person relationship with her and feel that, if I were to broach the subject, she would tell me to mind my own business and then our relationship would certainly be compromised. However, as you say my duty of care is to the child.

 

I feel as if the options open to me tomorrow (if I have the same concerns) are: say something to her and risk her wrath or contact the police in the hope that they would catch her leaving the premises.

 

On reflection, I think I shall ring the duty social worker tomorrow morning and also look into amending our policy document.

 

Thanks as ever for excellent advice.

 

Lesley

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On reflection, I think I shall ring the duty social worker tomorrow morning and also look into amending our policy document.

I really feel for you in this situation Lesley - that I hope it has a positive outcome goes without saying. However I am always surprised at how conversations with parents go. Sometimes when I've worried about something I had to talk to a parent about the they have reacted positively and my fears were unfounded. Yet other times something that seemed fairly straightforward has blown up in my face.

 

From experience, can I suggest that when you speak to the duty social worker you ask for clear guidance about what to say and how to say it? And make sure you make a note of who you spoke to and the advice they gave - it smacks a little of covering your back, but you never know how things will pan out.

 

Also, if you feel there is a danger that the parent will react aggressively then make sure you have support nearby to call on.

 

Good luck Lesley - I'll be thinking of you tomorrow. Let us know how things go.

 

Maz

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All good advice already, just wondering why your child protection officer isn't following C.P. procedures for this 'concern' ?

 

Would this not be his/her role, to contact social services, which then would leave you to maintain the relationship you have with mum and if needed be there to support her and her child through what may be a difficyult time for them.

In my CP policy I included a paragraph stating how we as a setting would support families following any need to report to, and/or involve social services with regards to a childs welfare.

 

Peggy.

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