The Family Drug and Alcohol Court Care Proceedings

Launched in January 2008, the Family Drug and Alcohol Court (FDAC) is a new way of dealing with care proceedings when parental substance misuse causes harm to children. In this article, three professionals from the Tavistock & Portman NHS Foundation Trust, who have been instrumental in developing the FDAC clinical model, discuss the background to this project

FDAC is a fresh approach to children who are put at risk by parental substance misuse. It is a new service for the UK based on similar ‘problem solving courts’ in the USA. District Judge Nicholas Crichton saw the model working and believed it would translate well to the UK and help deliver better outcomes for the parents and children involved in proceedings. After a great deal of research and feasibility work by the Brunel University research team, and key professionals within local and national government departments, the first UK FDAC was launched in London in January 2008.

Key issues

  • FDAC is a multi-agency project and it is the result of collaboration between local authorities, government, the courts, the NHS and the charitable sector,
  • FDAC benefits from a crossover of child and adult expertise,
  • FDAC’s innovative features include the use of pre-birth assessments and parent mentors,An independent study in 2011 found that FDAC families had higher rates of parent-child reunification and swifter permanent placement for children not returned,
  • The Tavistock & Portman NHS Foundation Trust and Coram, together with a panel of expert associate advisers, have been awarded this contract over the next two years and will be developing the FDAC model outside of London.