Family Drug and Alcohol Court project wins Guardian Public Service Award 2011
Coram and the Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation Trust are delighted that the Family Drug and Alcohol Court (FDAC) has won the Children and Young People’s Service Delivery award, in this year’s Guardian Public Services Awards.
FDAC is run in partnership by Coram and the Tavistock and Portman NHS foundation trust, and supports parents who are facing substance misuse issues. Substance abuse is the main issue in up to two thirds of all care proceedings and outcomes are often poor for the children concerned.
FDAC Team manager Sophie Kershaw said that the project could not function without the input of the collective teams and agencies: “The recognition of this partnership comes as a wonderful boost for all of us. The evidence shows that certain families can be kept together if the support to either stabilise or stop using drugs and /or alcohol is there. FDAC gets results by offering multi-disciplinary support, which ultimately leads to better outcomes for children who are growing up alongside their parent’s addiction.”
FDAC differs from conventional care proceedings, in that parents are able to see the same judge throughout the legal process, receive drug/alcohol testing via the FDAC team, benefit from a dedicated pool of children’s guardians attached to the court and get the benefit of extra offered support from volunteer parent mentors who have also experienced substance misuse.
FDAC faced competition from the East Cheshire NHS trust’s ‘practice’ sessions supporting disabled children, and MAC-UK for their work with agencies using youth-led programmes to promote mental health awareness. The Guardian said that FDAC’s approach helped to keep families intact, and was selected for its new and innovative approach.
Research by Brunel University recently showed that 39% of mothers being supported by FDAC mothers were re¬united with their children by the final court order, compared with 21% of the comparison group.*1 Parents had long histories of substance misuse and other problems. All but two parents said they were in favour of the FDAC approach. Where parents could not control their substance misuse, it took on average seven weeks less for children to be placed in a permanent alternative family.
A mother, who has been supported by FDAC and now volunteers as a parent mentor to new entrants to the scheme, said “FDAC has helped me be the sort of person I want to be. It helped me remain focused and motivated and instilled in me a real sense of achievement and confidence.”
Press contacts: Rachel Jasper, Coram Marketing & Communications, on 020 7520 0427 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Notes to editors:
Notes to the Editor
Coram, founded in 1739 as the UK’s first children charity, provides intensive support for more than 15,000 children, young people and families each year. It reaches a further 800,000 children through its health and social education programmes in schools nationwide. Coram’s expert services include adoption, creative therapies, supported housing for care leavers and family and parenting support.
Coram’s adoption service has one of the highest placement success rates in the country. The charity has been pioneering Concurrent Planning for more than 10 years, a service which places babies with specialist foster carers while their long-term future is being decided. This is so that babies who cannot return to their birth parents can be adopted by their carers, avoiding unnecessary and often traumatic disruption.
*1 The full report is available at www.brunel.ac.uk/fdacresearch *The evaluation research was funded by the Nuffield Foundation and Home Office. A second stage two-year evaluation funded by the Nuffield Foundation started at Brunel University in June 2011.
* Coram’s adoption partnership with Harrow Council, recently cited by Children's Minister Tim Loughton as a 'blueprint' for other local authorities, has ensured the successful placement of every child needing adoption within six months and annual cost savings of £440,000.
The Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation Trust are leaders in mental health care and education. Our approach has particular emphasis on psychological, social and lifespan approaches to prevention and treatment. We are a major provider of training and education for mental health and social care professionals and we run a vast programme of conferences and events throughout the year. All of our work is rooted in our clinical practice, and all of our activities are based on our experience of working with patients.