Children are vulnerable when their parents drink. KIDS Support Groups promote a place for welcoming and orientation for children affected by their parents' substance abuse as strategy of prevention and assistance to people in circumstances of social vulnerability and of hazard. Through targeted training of KIDS Group leaders/facilitators, the Blue Cross Brazil is expanding its successful program of Self Help to reach beyond the substance abusers and provide much needed care for family members.
Alcohol abuse is a significant public health issue in Southern Brazil. Children, who come from families where one or both parents drink often judge themselves, face social exclusion, are terrified of abandonment and in many cases become alcoholics themselves.
This project gives children who are affected by their parents' substance abuse a place to turn, a forum in which they can discuss their parents' addiction and how it impacts their life. The groups are used as prevention strategy too. Children who come from families where one or more parent abuses drugs/alcohol are 10 times more likely to fall into the same pattern. The groups help these children to realize that nothing is wrong with them - their parents' addiction is not their fault.
Support groups like these give children confidence, a network of people to rely on and trust. They provide positive guidance during a critical time in one's life when behavior and decision making are easily influenced. In the long-run, KIDS support groups create physically and mentally healthy adolescents and adults that can function in society, eventually becoming positive agents for change.