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The National Association for Children of Alcoholics (NACoA) was formed in February 1983 in California, by 20[1] professionals concerned about the needs of family members of alcoholics. NACoA is a membership and affiliate organization and is incorporated as a not-for-profit 501(c)(3) organization.

The mission of NACoA is "to advocate for all children and families affected by alcoholism and other drug dependencies." The founders believed that by coming together and building a consensus the core issues could be identified, and services desperately needed by COAs could be delivered and disseminated. In 1992, NACoA relocated its national office to suburban Washington DC to develop a stronger presence in the national policy and program arenas. NACoA partners with other national non-profit organizations, private sector groups, and federal agencies in policy and program development in substance abuse research, prevention and treatment areas to expand and enhance the delivery of information and messages for and about COAs.

NACoA program initiatives are designed to educate professionals in primary health care, the faith communities, social workers, education, and the judicial communities and to provide them with the tools that will facilitate their ability to intervene and support children of alcoholic or drug-addicted parents. The toll free telephone line provides information and support directly to children and families. Nearly fifty Affiliate members strengthen the national outreach efforts. NACoA is the only national membership organization working for children who have alcohol or other drug dependent parents on a national level.

NACOA provides support and information through their confidential telephone, letter and email helpline and via their website. NACoA has four broad aims:

  1. To offer information, advice and support to children of alcohol dependent parents.
  2. To reach professionals who deal with these children in their everyday work.
  3. To raise the profile of children of alcohol dependent parents in the public consciousness.
  4. To promote research into the particular problems faced by those who grow up with parental alcoholism and the prevention of alcoholism developing in this vulnerable group of children.

Research suggests that 2.05 million adults in the UK claimed they had been brought up in a family where one or both parents drank too much [2]. 30% (840,000 people) said that this affected them 'very badly' during childhood. 71% (1,988,000 people) said they needed someone to talk to, who understood the problem of alcoholism when they were children [3]. In this study children of alcoholics reported that they had experienced mental health problems, considered suicide, suffered from eating disorders, experienced drug or alcohol addiction themselves and had been in trouble with the police more than control groups.

This entry has incorrectly merged NACOA UK and NACOA USA. They are completely separate organisations and were independently set up.


  1. Robert Ackerman, Ph.D.; Timothy Allen, MA; Claudia Black, MSW, Ph.D.; Julie Bowden, M.F.C.; Mary Brand-Cermak, MFCC; Cathleen Brooks Weiss; Stephanie Brown, Ph.D.; Timmen Cermak, MD; Phil Diaz, MSW; Herbert l. Gravitz, Ph.D.; Jael M Greenleaf; Joseph Kern, Ph.D.; Barbara Krovitz-Neren; Rokelle Lerner; Tarpley M. Long, LCSW; Ellen Morehouse, ACSW, NCACII; Patricia O’Gorman, Ph.D.; Robert Subby, MA; Sharon Wegscheider-Cruse; Charles Whitfield, MD.
  2. Neilson (1992)
  3. Callingham, M. (2002)


  • Abbott, Stephanie. Children of Alcoholics – Selected Readings. 2000, Rockville, MD

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