FDAC is a problem-solving court approach aiming to improve outcomes for children and families involved in care proceedings. It offers an alternative way of supporting parents to overcome the substance misuse, mental health and related problems that have put their children at risk of serious harm. It offers parents optimism about recovery and change, combined with a realistic understanding of the immense challenge they face.
Innovation Programme funding has supported the growth of FDAC nationally by enabling the establishment and maintenance of FDAC services in nine new sites plus a national development unit.
The FDAC National Unit has three key areas of work: increasing the successful set-up of FDACs; exploring sustainability plans for new FDACs after innovation funding; and improving data collection and evidence of the FDAC model.
In April 2019, the Centre for Justice Innovation established a new national partnership to support current and new Family Drug and Alcohol Courts (FDACs) across the country. The Centre is hosting and directing the national team, working in partnership with the Tavistock and Portman NHS Trust and RyanTunnard Brown. The Centre continues to work in partnership with research colleagues at Lancaster University and others within the FDAC communities of practice and information.
The DfE-funded independent evaluation published in 2017 found that:
- The National Unit has played a critical role in the successful set-up of new FDACs and is expected to have a significant ongoing role in supporting the sustainability of FDACs and to strengthening the evidence-base on the efficacy of the model.
- Nine new FDACs were created in the first year of the National Unit.
- The expertise, commitment and hard work of the National Unit helped to ensure that new FDACs were more successful, less resource intensive and quicker to set-up and deliver than previously.