Specialist courts set up for families facing substance misuse

Published: Thursday 4th July 2013

A pioneering family court service which offers parents a better chance of recovering from drug or alcohol addiction is to be extended across the UK

The Family Drug and Alcohol Court (FDAC), the first of its kind, works with people whose children have been taken into care because of parental substance abuse. The court offers increased support compared with the traditional court process and a higher chance of being reunited with their children through custody or contact arrangements.

Sophie Kershaw, Service Manager from the service said:

“To be at the forefront of the roll out is really exciting for us and a great endorsement of the model which we know works so well with vulnerable families." 

The Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation Trust and leading children’s charity Coram set up the UK’s first FDAC in London in 2008. Now the Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation Trust has secured support from the Department for Education to extend FDAC to at least two locations across the country. Coram will still be involved in helping advise and guide the development of the new courts.

Edward Timpson, Minister for Children and Families, said:

“The Family Drug and Alcohol Court pilot has carried out excellent work supporting parents and children whose lives have been impacted by alcohol and substance abuse.”

“That’s why we’ve made further funding available to create at least two additional courts, to help provide early and effective support to some of our most vulnerable families”.

Unlike conventional court proceedings, parents will see the same judge throughout and meet with them every fortnight. They also receive a range of support including drug and alcohol testing and treatment, psychiatric support and practical assistance with related issues such as housing, domestic violence and financial hardship.

FDAC recently trialled a cutting-edge alcohol-testing bracelet that monitors parents' drinking and helps diagnose what treatments might support their recovery. To read more about the bracelet, click here. 

Useful Link

Family Drug and Alcohol Court (FDAC)