account arrow-down-linearrow-down-small arrow-downarrow-download arrow-left-small arrow-leftarrow-link arrow-rightarrow-upaudio-less-volume audio-not-playing audio-plus-volume audio awarded books calendar close-modal closedate delete document education emailevent Facebookhamburger impact instagramjustice linkedin location-outline location opinion page phonepinterestplay pluspost preview project reports search-bigsearch-old search share star-full star-open startime twitterwelfare youtube zoom-in zoom-out

Family Drug and Alcohol Courts to be extended in England

Specialist courts that tackle the widespread problem of parental substance misuse in care proceedings will be rolled out to new areas of the country after an independent evaluation funded by the Nuffield Foundation and undertaken by Brunel University London found the pilot programme to be a success.

The evaluation found the Family Drug and Alcohol Court (FDAC) was more likely than ordinary proceedings to help parents stop misusing and be reunited with their children. Rates of fresh neglect or abuse in the first year following reunification were also lower among families who had participated in FDAC proceedings than those who had gone through ordinary care proceedings.

Now the Department of Education (DfE) has announced that an estimated £2.5 million of funding is available to develop a National FDAC Development Unitand to nurture new courts across the country.

Prof Harwin, who will be carrying out research within the FDAC Development Unit, said: “Our independent evaluation found that FDAC is effective in helping to break the cycle of harm caused by parental substance abuse. This approach helps reduce the number of children taken into care and enables more families to stay together.

“The evidence provides compelling support for rolling out FDAC more widely. Thanks to the DfE, there is now a significant opportunity to research the sustainability of FDAC over the longer term. This is a brilliant example of how research, policy and service development are working together to intercept the corrosive cycle of parental substance misuse.”

The national FDAC unit will be based at Coram Campus, where FDAC London is currently located, and will be led by the Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation Trust, supported by partner organisations, Brunel University London, Centre for Justice Innovation, Coram, Manchester University and RyanTunnardBrown.

It is expected to support a potential eight new sites in the first year, with Kent & Medway; Coventry; Plymouth, Torbay & Exeter, Leeds & West Yorkshire all committed to opening FDACs in the financial year 2015/16. The learning and implementation of FDAC will continue nationally and the model will be tested and evaluated at every FDAC site across the country.

How is FDAC different?

FDAC is a new way of dealing with care proceedings when parental substance misuse is causing harm to children. This is an issue in up to two thirds of all care proceedings. Unlike conventional care proceedings, parents in FDAC see the same judge throughout and meet with them every fortnight. They also receive support from a multi-disciplinary team, which helps them access substance misuse services and provides assistance in tackling other problems such as housing, domestic violence and financial hardship.

Brunel’s independent evaluation team found that FDAC families had a higher rate of stopping substance abuse than people who had been through normal care proceedings, with 40% of mothers stopping, compared to 25%.

In 35% of cases, FDAC mothers stopped misusing and were reunited with their mothers, compared to 19% who had been through ordinary care proceedings.

Related


Explore our projects

New

Welfare | 2020 - 2023

Public expenditure planning and control in complex times

View project
New

Welfare | 2020 - 2022

How UK welfare reform affects larger families

View project
New

Education | Welfare | 2020 - 2020

Measuring the disadvantage attainment gap in 16-19 education

View project
Two teenage male pupils study a science lesson as part of their post-16 options
In progress

Education | 2019 - 2021

Post-16 pathways: the role of peers, family background and expectations

View project
In progress

Education | 2019 - 2022

The SWAN game-based approach to learning foundational number language

View project
In progress

Justice | 2019 - 2022

Understanding criminogenic influences on youth offending

View project
In progress

Welfare | 2019 - 2022

Children living with domestic violence: effects on children’s well-being

View project
In progress

Education | 2019 - 2020

Education priorities in a forthcoming general election

View project
In progress

Welfare | 2019 - 2022

Ethnic inequalities in later life

View project
In progress

Welfare | 2019 - 2022

The effect of Community Mental Health Services in England

View project
In progress

Welfare | 2019 - 2022

Caregiving dads, breadwinning mums: Transforming gender in work and childcare?

View project
In progress

Welfare | 2019 - 2021

Living with data: knowledge, experiences and perceptions of data practices

View project
New

Welfare | 2020 - 2023

Public expenditure planning and control in complex times

View project
New

Welfare | 2020 - 2022

How UK welfare reform affects larger families

View project
New

Education | Welfare | 2020 - 2020

Measuring the disadvantage attainment gap in 16-19 education

View project
Two teenage male pupils study a science lesson as part of their post-16 options
In progress

Education | 2019 - 2021

Post-16 pathways: the role of peers, family background and expectations

View project
In progress

Education | 2019 - 2020

Education priorities in a forthcoming general election

View project
In progress

Welfare | 2019 - 2022

Children living with domestic violence: effects on children’s well-being

View project
In progress

Justice | 2019 - 2022

Understanding criminogenic influences on youth offending

View project
In progress

Education | 2019 - 2022

The SWAN game-based approach to learning foundational number language

View project
Reported

Welfare | 2013 - 2017

IFS Green Budget 2013 – 2016

View project
Reported

Education | 2017 - 2018

Growing up digital

View project
In progress

Justice | 2019 - 2021

The Edinburgh Study: causes and impacts of criminal justice pathways

View project
Reported

Welfare | 2013 - 2016

Data about fathers in birth cohort studies (Life Study)

View project
New

Welfare | 2020 - 2023

Public expenditure planning and control in complex times

View project
New

Welfare | 2020 - 2022

How UK welfare reform affects larger families

View project
New

Education | Welfare | 2020 - 2020

Measuring the disadvantage attainment gap in 16-19 education

View project
Two teenage male pupils study a science lesson as part of their post-16 options
In progress

Education | 2019 - 2021

Post-16 pathways: the role of peers, family background and expectations

View project
In progress

Welfare | 2019 - 2022

Ethnic inequalities in later life

View project
In progress

Education | 2019 - 2022

The SWAN game-based approach to learning foundational number language

View project
In progress

Justice | 2019 - 2022

Understanding criminogenic influences on youth offending

View project
In progress

Welfare | 2019 - 2022

Children living with domestic violence: effects on children’s well-being

View project
In progress

Education | 2019 - 2020

Education priorities in a forthcoming general election

View project
In progress

Welfare | 2019 - 2022

The effect of Community Mental Health Services in England

View project
In progress

Welfare | 2019 - 2022

Caregiving dads, breadwinning mums: Transforming gender in work and childcare?

View project
In progress

Welfare | 2019 - 2021

Living with data: knowledge, experiences and perceptions of data practices

View project
Reported

Welfare | 2018 - 2018

Interdisciplinary conference on evidence use in policy

View project
Reported

Welfare | 2018 - 2018

Council tax support schemes’ impact on claimants & local authorities

View project
Reported

Welfare | 2018 - 2018

Improving survey representation of non-resident parents

View project
Reported

Education | 2017 - 2018

Growing up digital

View project
Reported

Justice | Welfare | 2017 - 2018

Addressing the ‘care cases’ crisis: a sector-led review

View project
Reported

Justice | 2017 - 2019

Immigration judicial reviews

View project
Reported

Welfare | 2017 - 2018

Vulnerable migrants and well-being: A pilot study

View project
Reported

Welfare | 2017 - 2018

Benchmarking transparency in government’s use of evidence

View project
Reported

Welfare | 2017 - 2017

General Election 2017

View project
Siblings play ball in a playground - Siblings Contact and the Law
Reported

Justice | Welfare | 2017 - 2019

Siblings, contact and the law: an overlooked relationship?

View project
Reported

Welfare | 2017 - 2019

Asylum policies in Europe and the refugee crisis

View project
Reported

Justice | Welfare | 2017 - 2019

Measuring outcomes for children’s social care services

View project
Search projects

We improve people’s lives by funding research that informs social policy, primarily in EducationWelfare and Justice. We also fund student programmes that give young people skills and confidence in science and research.

We offer our grant-holders the freedom to frame questions and enable new thinking. Our research must stand up to rigorous academic scrutiny, but we understand that to be successful in effecting change, it also needs to be relevant to people’s experience.

Profile