Family Drug and Alcohol Courts (FDAC) To Spread Across The UK


The Family Drug and Alcohol Court (FDAC) is being extended across England meaning more parents who are substance abusers will now get a chance to kick the habit and get back into contact with their children.

Drug free zone

Results Speak For Themselves

For 7 years, London has benefitted from these courts and now further courts are being opened in East Sussex, Kent and Medway, Plymouth, Torbay and Exeter and West Yorkshire. According to the East Sussex Foster Care Association, at any one time there can be up to 600 children in care in their area.

More than likely, at least one parent will have an alcohol or drug problem before care proceedings are commenced. Taking parents like these through the traditional system to deal with their child proceedings can lead to a worsening of their condition. The FDAC is often described as a "therapeutic" process as it has its own team of experts and doctors that get involved with the case. Typically, this does not happen in the traditional court system.

Jenna Eldrett, expert in family and children's law at Simpson Millar LLP, commented on the move by saying, "All too often we see parents who do not make sufficient progress within court proceedings and the results of this specialist court speak for themselves."

Breaking The Cycle Of Substance Misuse

Parents undergo regular alcohol and drug tests during the process and their children are placed in temporary care. Treatments and therapy that usually takes up to 26 weeks are also part of the deal, which equates to the amount of time the government says care proceedings should take. Although deemed impractical by some, Sir James Munby, President of the Family Division has said, "we can and must meet the 26 week limit." He also said he was a "strong supporter" of the FDAC and the work they do.

According to a study by Brunel University, 35% of mothers who beat their addictions after going through the FDAC were able to have their children returned to them. This compared with 19% of mothers who were dealt with by the ordinary family courts, and is testament to the schemes success.

Edward Timpson, Children and Families Ministers said that extending the work of the FDAC would provide "life-changing results for families across the country."

Everyone seems to agree that expanding FDAC is for the best. Jenna ended by saying "I think this can only be a positive step to assist parents to break the cycle of substance misuse which may, ultimately, lead to the return of their children to their care."

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