HOMELESSNESS, drugs and alcohol are a potent cocktail that can lead to lives spiralling out of control. But a new scheme in the Capital aims to help young parents with drug or alcohol problems turn their lives around and find a long-term home. The £30,000 ADAPT scheme is aimed specifically at couples under the age of 25 struggling to cope or kick the habit. The number of children on the child protection register in Edinburgh has soared in recent years because of the number of parents with substance abuse problems. The issue was blamed for the city council receiving a shocking HMIE report into its services aimed at protecting vulnerable youngsters. Inspectors claimed that the council was too slow and disorganised in the way it removed at-risk children from potentially harmful situations. Councillor Marilyne MacLaren, the city's children and families leader, said the service was stretched because of the rising number of referrals of children whose parents had drug and alcohol problems. Bob Stewart, head of social care services for charity Four Square, which launched ADAPT, said: "We've set this up because we believe there is a huge need to address this. We want to help people before they go too far and before their children end up in the Children's Hearing system. "We will be focusing on parents under 25 this time, because that is the age group research shows is most vulnerable." Although Four Square receives £396,000 in council funding each year, the ADAPT project, which will initially run for three years, is being paid for with donations from two charitable trusts: the Kelly Family Trust and another that prefers to remain anonymous. One of the project's key aims will be to tackle any homelessness problems couples face, in the hope that establishing a stable home life will make it easier for them to stay away from drugs and alcohol. Couples will also receive counselling, money for things like baby provisions and support to return to education or work.