Family support


Addiction does not just affect the individual, it can have a much wider ripple effect on families, friends, partners and children.


According to work carried out with the Institute for Fiscal Studies, around 1.5 million children living in families with very high needs such as severe mental health problems, domestic abuse and addiction are not getting the help they need. At Action on Addiction, we have developed programmes to support the families of addicted who also often require support, counselling and education about addictive behaviours and life in recovery.

Moving Parents and Children Together (M-PACT) Programme

M-PACT is a whole family, multi-family, structured brief intervention.  Its psychosocial, educational and systematic approach, aims to improve the well-being of children and families affected by parental substance misuse.

Just one of M-PACT’s strengths lies in its evidence base and the programme has been independently evaluated by Lorna Templeton since 2006. Statistical analysis shows that family members attending M-PACT programmes reported improvements over time in;

  • Global family functioning - this covers areas such as disrupted communication, strengths and adaptability, and how overwhelmed family members felt by difficulties experienced.
  • How family members viewed the severity of the problem
  • How families thought they were managing
  • How families viewed the programme
  • Family coping efficacy – how well family members coped with life challenges.

Becoming a licenced M-PACT partner

This is a licenced programme and we work with many dedicated partners to deliver M-PACT in a wide range of settings including community based services, prisons and schools. We would encourage any organisation to contact us to find out if you too can be part of the community delivering this vital programme and making a difference to the lives of children and their family members living with the impact of addiction.  

Corin Morgan-Armstrong

Head of Family Interventions

HMP & YOI Parc, Wales

“Having worked with prisoners and rehabilitation for the last twenty years, in which time I have facilitated and managed a wide variety of HM Prison Service accredited offending behaviour programmes, as well as a growing suite of local organic approaches to resettlement, I can say with confidence that in my experience the M-PACT intervention is one of the best I have ever seen.”


Kieran Doherty

Chief Executive Officer

The Alcohol Forum, Ireland.


“In 2015, the Alcohol Forum became the first and only provider of M-PACT in Ireland, where one in six carers (16%) have reported that children for whom they have parental responsibility have experienced harm because of someone else’s drinking. Our M-PACT offering continues to grow, making a significant difference to the lives of the family members it supports.”


James Mawhinney

Social work team leader & safeguarding Lead

CGL (change, grow, live)


“M-PACT has enabled us to develop a bridge between children and adult services by providing direct evidence based interventions with each member of the family. The difference this has made to the lives of families accessing our service has been immense.”


Programme specification

The original programme model can support up to 8 families at a time and consists of 10 sessions, including 8 core sessions, a review session and a reunion. The programme takes a strengths based approach and supports families to address areas such as communication and coping strategies as well as educating family members on what addiction is and the impact is has.

More recently, the model has been adapted to include both shorter and longer versions to respond more flexibly to the needs of licenced organisations and the families attending the programme.


Training dates


Please note, organisations wishing to attend training must have a current licence with Action on Addiction. To find out more about the licence process and costs, please contact us.



Learning format:

28th to 31st January


4 day face to face training

25th to 28th February

4 day face to face training

13th to 14th March

Blended learning - 5-6 weeks online learning plus 2 days face to face training.



Date: Thursday 7 March 2019, 10am-4.30pm
Tutor: Nicky Adams
£200 (includes lunch and refreshments)

Who is it for?

This is a one-day training event for managers, supervisors and team leaders who would like to gain an understanding of the M-PACT programme and the issues that arise for practitioners when working with parental substance misuse.

Group supervision is an opportunity for the M-PACT team to reflect on their work, exploring ideas, ways of working, and ethical dilemmas. Working in the field of addiction can generate powerful feelings, sometimes mirroring those experienced by families affected by addiction. Unless understood and processed appropriately, these feelings can potentially have a negative physical and emotional impact on practitioners.

The training will cover:

  1. A brief overview of the M-PACT programme
  2. The relationship between substance misuse and families
  3. A review of theoretical approaches (systemic and attachment theories)
  4. Family resilience and strengths-based approaches
  5. Practitioner competencies and attitudes to family work (helping practitioners explore their assumptions and work collaboratively with families)
  6. Group supervision and team-working (M-PACT team roles/tasks)
  7. Key documents, policies and guidelines including safeguarding and risk assessment

For more information, contact Nicky Adams: or to book your place, please contact: 01985 843780 /

Bed and breakfast is available at The Centre for Addiction Treatment Studies.


Contact us


To find out more or to book onto one of our programmes please contact our experts:

T: 01747 832 015