Press Release - November 18, 2010

Contact:  Kelly Bachman
302-633-2501 or 302-299-9791

“Step Up” Campaign Encourages Parents to Prevent Underage Drinking

Adults who ignore or enable underage drinking must change their ways

Wilmington, DE —Parents of many teenagers and adolescents are forsaking their responsibilities and endangering their children by ignoring the dangers of underage drinking or allowing them to drink alcohol, even if it’s because “it’s the holidays” or “it’s a special occasion,” a new campaign says.

The “Step Up” campaign encourages parents – and all adults – to stop facilitating or ignoring youth alcohol consumption and to take responsibility for their role in underage drinking. The campaign, which will kick off on November 21, in time for the holidays, presents parents with steps they can take to have an active role in discouraging  underage drinking.

“There is an undeniable, evidence-based link between permissiveness in the home and teens who drink,” said Delaware First Lady Carla Markell, who is featured in the campaign video. “We are urging parents to hold their children accountable, but they need to hold themselves accountable first. That means making an effort: Check your liquor inventory at home. If your teens are going to a party, contact the hosts and make sure adults will be there and alcohol will not be permitted. Be aware and be engaged.”

Using various communication mediums, the Step Up campaign will:

  • Help adults recognize and change their behaviors that facilitate underage drinking.
  • Provide ideas for effective “house rules” to help adults protect kids from underage drinking.
  • Encourage parents to block teen access to alcohol.
  • Highlight the consequences of underage drinking.

Binge drinking among adolescents is of particular concern. Among teenagers who drink alcohol, two-thirds admit to binge drinking, according to a report released earlier this month by the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC). Delaware has one of the highest rates of binge drinking nationwide.

While youth binge drinking is particularly dangerous, adults should be working to prevent underage consumption of alcohol in any quantity, said Vivian Rapposelli, Secretary of the Department of Services for Children, Youth and Their Families, which is sponsoring the campaign.

“Underage drinking must not be recognized as an acceptable rite of passage,” Rapposelli said. “Too often, it leads to other risky and destructive behaviors, possibly resulting in the need for services from this department.  Parents need a wake-up call. Our children are our future – our responsibility. And our first line of defense is prevention.”

The Delaware Children’s Department provides services to children who have been abused, neglected, abandoned, dependent, or have mental health or substance abuse problems, and/or have been adjudicated delinquent by the Courts. For more information, please visit us online at . For more on the Step Up Campaign, go to