Alcohol & Families Alliance

The Alcohol and Families Alliance (AFA) is an alliance of organisations from across the voluntary and statutory sectors united in reducing the harms experienced by families as a result of alcohol by developing and influencing policy. Adfam provides the secretariat and it is Chaired by Eric Appleby. 

The AFA believes that:

  • Current policy does not sufficiently protect children and families from alcohol related harms.
  • The misuse of alcohol can have serious and detrimental effects on the health and well-being of children and families.
  • The negative effects of alcohol on children and families are not necessarily confined to those incurred by drinkers diagnosed as hazardous, dangerous or dependent.
  • We should encourage an open conversation about alcohol and its effects on families, that challenges stigma and stereotypes.
  • We should encourage an open conversation about alcohol and its effects on families, that challenges stigma and stereotypes.
  • Families deserve help and support to understand the potential impact of alcohol on their family and relationships.

The more organisations are involved with the Alcohol and Families Alliance, the more powerful its voice is. Organisations are welcome to join which carry out membershippolicy or good-practice work in the children and families, or drug and alcohol sector, as are individual (such as academics) with a specific interest in this field. Organisations wishing to join should be represented by a senior employee – for instance Head of Policy or Operations, or the Chief Executive.

If you are interested in becoming an AFA member please get in touch via email at

Follow the AFA on Twitter at @AlcoholFamilies

Alcohol and Intimate Partner Relationships

This study, published by the AFA in April 2023, looks at the experiences of those affected by the drinking of an intimate partner and the negative effects drinking can have on a relationship. It finds that drinking does not necessarily need to be frequent or considered dependent, to have a negative effect on partners and relationships. A range of negative effects were reported, including a breakdown of trust between partners, conflict, tension and lack of emotional connection and intimacy.

The study’s recommendations include a call for the Reducing Parental Conflict Programme to focus on drinking, measures to reduce the centrality of alcohol in society, and consideration of a public campaign to raise awareness on how alcohol can affect relationships.

Download the full report (pdf).

Families First

In 2018 the AFA launched Families First (pdf), a policy report examining the impact alcohol has on families and children in the UK and the gaps in support, making policy recommendations for closing those gaps.

The report finds that while almost 200,000 children live with at least one alcohol-dependent adult, there is very patchy provision of support nationally, and for families affected by alcohol, and that training is needed to help professionals identify parental drinking problems and show families where to get help.
Alongside this, Families First raises concerns with alcohol’s position in wider society – particularly its increased availability in recent years – and how this works against families hoping to avoid harm. It calls for action on the price of alcohol, such as minimum unit pricing which has been introduced in Scotland.

​The report also found many barriers for those caring for a family member, or the child of a family member, with an alcohol use problem. Many of these carers suffer financial hardship due to their caring roles, and some – caring for another family member’s children – are not entitled to the same rights and benefits as other carers. The AFA is calling on government to increase the Carer’s Allowance to ensure carers do not suffer financial hardship, and for carers looking after children in their own family to receive the same rights, support, and benefits as foster carers.

​Families First was launched in Parliament on 3 July 2018 at an event sponsored by Caroline Flint MP and supported by the All Party Parliamentary Groups on Alcohol Harm and on Children of Alcoholics.

Download the report (pdf)

Like Sugar for Adults

In 2017 the AFA, in partnership with the Institute of Alcohol Studies and Alcohol Focus Scotland , published Like Sugar for Adults, a research report looking into parental drinking and its impact on children.

While there is a significant amount of research on the impact of chronic drinking on families and children, far less is known about the impact of ‘moderate’ or ‘lower risk’ drinking. The study aimed to address this by investigating the impact of alcohol on children across a range of drinking levels and patterns.

The final report was launched in Parliament in October 2017.

Download the report (pdf)

Consultation responses

Alcohol and Families Alliance members

Steering group members:

  • Adfam
  • Institute of Alcohol Studies
  • Alcohol Change UK
  • Scottish Families Affected by Alcohol and Drugs
  • Nacoa
  • Turning Point
  • CGL


  • Action for Children
  • Action on Addiction
  • Addiction Professionals
  • AFINet
  • Agenda
  • Alcohol Action Ireland
  • Alcohol Focus Scotland
  • AlcoHELP
  • ANA Treatment Centres
  • Aquarius
  • Against Violence and Abuse (AVA)
  • Balance NE
  • Become
  • Bottled Up
  • C3 Foundation
  • The Children’s Society
  • Collective Voice
  • Compass UK
  • Family and Childcare Trust
  • Cranstoun
  • DrugFAM
  • Early Break
  • European Birth Mother’s Network
  • FASD Network
  • Family Action
  • FDAC National Unit
  • Forward Trust
  • Humankind
  • Inclusion
  • Kinship
  • North Tyneside Council
  • Sinclair Method UK
  • St Michael’s Fellowship
  • Tina Goldberg Centre
  • University of Greenwich
  • University of York, Department of Health Sciences
  • Via
  • We Are With You

As well as the organisations below the AFA has the following individuals as members:

  • Eric Appleby (Chair) 
  • Naomi Eisenstadt, University of Oxford 
  • Lorna Templeton, Independent Research Consultant
  • Tracey Harding, University of Plymouth
  • Sam Wright, Manchester Metropolitan University