The Family Drug and Alcohol Court (FDAC) is to be significantly extended after the Government agreed to provide £2.5m in funding.
FDAC was launched in 2008 in London and its approach has since been rolled out to Gloucestershire, Milton Keynes and Buckinghamshire.
The court works with parents, social workers and substance misuse professionals to combat addictions in families and, where possible, keep them together. Where this is not possible, the court aims to make swift decisions in order to find children a permanent loving, stable home with minimal disruption.
Under the scheme parents see the same judge throughout the course of the proceedings. The court also offers fast access substance misuse services as well as help with housing issues, domestic violence and financial hardship.
The new funding – made available through the Government’s Innovation Programme – will be used to extend the FDAC approach to different areas of the country, including Coventry, Kent and Medway, Plymouth, Torbay and Exeter, and West Yorkshire.
Children and Family Minister Edward Timpson said: “I know from my years at the Bar that when it comes to supporting our most vulnerable and troubled families, there isn’t a one-size-fits all approach. Families need tailored and personalised support to help them stay together and thrive.
“Since 2008, the Family Drug and Alcohol Court has thrown an invaluable lifeline to hundreds upon hundreds of families, helping parents shut the door on destructive behaviour and making sure everyone is working towards the best possible outcome for the child – a safe and stable family.”
Timpson added: “Extending the Court’s work further will deliver real, life-changing results for families across the country and I look forward to seeing how the scheme develops over the coming months.”
District Judge Nick Crichton, who has run the court in London since its launch, said: “FDAC is a problem solving court. In the FDAC, we have seen some parents demonstrate a remarkable capacity to change in response to our more constructive, empathetic approach. Harnessing the fairness and authority of the court has shown that it is possible to break the cycle of drug and alcohol misuse.
“Importantly, FDAC has the support of parents themselves, which is crucial to its success. Thanks to the DfE and government’s investment, more parents and their children will be able to access FDAC across the country.”