Parenting our Children,
Addressing Risk.

POCAR is an intensive, 16-week programme for parents who have problems with drugs and/or alcohol whose child/ren are open to Social Services.

What is POCAR?

POCAR stands for Parenting Our Children Addressing Risk. It is an intensive, 16-week programme for parents who have problems with drugs and/or alcohol whose child/ren are open to Social Services. Parents are referred to POCAR by their child’s Social Worker.

POCAR is a structured programme based on effective interventions for drug and alcohol use with additional elements focused on parenting and safeguarding.

The programme is delivered via a combination of weekly groups and 1-1 keywork with a named Care Co-Ordinator. Monthly updates are provided to the Social Worker via a templated progress report.

The programme has two strands: one for men and one for women. Groups are gender-specific, so women will attend groups which are women-only and men will attend groups only open to men.


Oasis Project was established in 1997 and gives hope to women, children and families affected by drugs & alcohol. Oasis takes a child and family centered approach to addressing substance misuse problems and POCAR has been part of the service offer for 11 years.

POCAR was originally developed in partnership with Children’s Services and NHS providers to address concerns raised in Hidden Harm (2003).  The programme was independently evaluated in 2015 by New Economics Foundation using outcome data from Children and Family records.

The evaluation found that

* The POCAR Programme helps reduce the number of cases with Child Protection Plans by 53% by 3 months after clients have finished the programme and by 85% by12 months after clients have finished the programme.

* The POCAR programme supports significant numbers of parents towards caring for their own children safely and averts the need for them to become looked after by the Local Authority.

* Changes arising from the POCAR progamme occur swiftly, with the majority of transitions in social care status taking place within 3 months of completing the programme


POCAR aims to break the cycles of deprivation; enabling parents to recover from substance misuse, rebuild their families and bring their children up safely.

The overall aims of POCAR are to:

* Support parents to address drug and alcohol difficulties to achieve their parenting goals

* Increase parents’ self-esteem and confidence

* Reduce isolation and build resilience

* Enhance safety and stability for children

Making a Referral to POCAR

Parents are referred onto the POCAR programme via Social Services if the professional working with a family believes that the child(ren) may be at risk due to their parent’s substance misuse.

Referrals are completed using our online form.

The referral will then be allocated for assessment by the Senior POCAR Practitioner and the client will be contacted within two weeks with an assessment date.

What happens during POCAR?


POCAR is a rolling 16-week programme which includes:

* Weekly 1-1 keywork with the allocated POCAR Care Co-Ordinator. This is reviewed after 10 weeks and frequency will be reduced if appropriate for the remaining 6 weeks. Keywork appointments will take place either face-to-face or over the phone as agreed.

* 3 Facilitated groups per week delivered online (via Zoom) and face-to-face (at 11 Richmond Place). Groups are 1.5 hours in duration and run as follows:

— Monday, 11am-12.30pm | Face to Face | Planning and Goal Setting

— Wednesday, 11am-12.30pm | Online | Group content varies weekly

— Thursday, 11am – 12.30pm | Face to Face | Check-in, Group content varies weekly

* Access to our free Creche for babies and children 0-5 years to support parents to attend sessions


Group content varies weekly.

There are 8 sessions on relapse prevention; exploring triggers for substance misuse, high-risk situations for relapse and strategies for recovery.

There are 8 sessions on relationships, which consider the relationships people have with partners, family members, children, peers, professionals and themselves. The sessions look at the differences between healthy and unhealthy relationships; the roles peoples adapt in relationships, the connection between relationships and substance misuse and strategies to improve relationships.

Sessions offer an opportunity to consider how substance misuse affects relationships and parenting.

More Information

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We’ve been doing this for over 20 years, so we really know what works. We see everyone as an individual, and make sure we can get them the right help at the right time.