The Family Drug and Alcohol Court (FDAC) initiative is to be expanded across five more areas (Coventry, Kent and Medway, Plymouth, Torbay and Exeter, and West Yorkshire) after a £2.5m investment through the government’s Children's Social Care Innovation Fund.
A key element of the FDAC process, which launched in the UK in 2008, includes having the same judge throughout care proceedings to build trust with families. The process offers families swifter access to substance misuse services as well as housing, domestic violence and financial hardship support, to give parents the best chance of kicking addictions and keeping their children.
Children’s minister Edward Timpson said: “Families need tailored and personalised support to help them stay together and thrive. Since 2008, the Family Drug and Alcohol Court has thrown an invaluable lifeline to hundreds of families, helping parents shut the door on destructive behaviour and making sure everyone is working towards the best possible outcome for the child – a safe and stable family. Extending the court’s work further will deliver real, life-changing results for families across the country.”
Renuka Jeyarajah-Dent, Coram’s director of operations welcomed the news saying “Due to this significant investment from the government, greater numbers of families throughout the country will have the opportunity to access FDAC. It is proven to be a very successful model of using multi-professional skills to their best advantage to problem-solve with the courts. Birth parents feel involved and understood in a process that actively offers help in order to make sure that action is taken to help them keep their children and, if this is not possible, to part with them in the most supportive way.”
Independent evaluation of the London court carried out by Brunel University last year, revealed successes in reducing the number of children taken into care and helping parents combat drug and alcohol addiction.