Camden Council in London has secured funding for the UK’s first drug and alcohol court.
The court, which will be set up from January next year, will offer same-day referrals for help, advice and support in cases where children might have to go into care because of their parents’ substance misuse. It will run as a partnership between Camden, Islington and Westminster councils.
Specialist drug and alcohol courts are used widely across the USA, where early findings have suggested they have been successful in enabling more children in care to return home because their parents have engaged with substance misuse services.
A judge, substance misuse specialists and social workers will be able to put support in place for parents willing to engage with the court as part of the three-year £1.6 million London pilot.
Two-thirds of all care cases coming to courts in Camden and neighbouring Islington and Westminster are because of parental substance misuse, according to a study commissioned by the councils last year to look at the feasibility of introducing the court.
Specialist parent court to be piloted