Family Drug and Alcohol Court - Information for professionals

Introduction to the Family Drug and Alcohol Court

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Parents are given ‘a trial for change’ that provides them with the best possible chance to overcome their problems. At the same time FDAC tests whether the family can make enough change in a timescale compatible with the children’s needs.

In a judgement the President of the Family Division of the High Court said of FDA

‘The FDAC approach is crucially important. The simple reality is that FDACworks…FDAC is, it must be, a vital component in the new Family Court.’ 

Re S (A Child) [2014] EWCC B44 (Fam), [2014] 2 FLR, at paras [35] – [38]

FDAC has achieved significantly better outcomes than normal proceedings in an independent evaluation led by Lancaster University:

  • More parents addressed their problems by the end of the proceedings.
  • 40% of FDAC mothers were no longer misusing substances, compared to 25% of the comparison mothers.
  • 25% of FDAC fathers were no longer misusing substances, compared to 5% of the comparison fathers.
  • More children remained with or returned to their parents at the end of proceedings.
  • When families were followed up a year or more after proceedings ended further neglect or abuse of children occurred in 25% of FDAC families compared with 56% of comparison families.
  • The researchers said, “Parents were overwhelmingly positive about the FDAC team for motivating and engaging them, listening to them and not ‘judging’ them, being honest with them, being both ‘strict’ and ‘kind’, providing practical and emotional support, and coordinating their individual plans.”

(Harwin et al 2014)