Family Drug and Alcohol Court to expand into Buckinghamshire and northern England

London’s Family Drug and Alcohol Court is being operations in Buckinghamshire and Milton Keynes from next April.

The court, which provides an alternative to care proceedings for families with parental substance abuse problems, has also drawn up a shortlist of locations for expanding the service into the north of England.

Sophie Kershaw, the court’s service manager, revealed the plans at Community Care Live 13: Children and Families yesterday.

She said that the expansion is the result of Department for Education funding the service received in April this year.

The government funding is also being used to examine how the court can widen its remit to cover domestic violence and mental health problems within families.

The court was founded in 2008 and currently works in five London boroughs: Camden; Hammersmith and Fulham; Islington; Southwark; and Westminster.

Unlike standard family courts, the Family Drug and Alcohol Court co-ordinates a programme of treatment and support that aims to help parents manage or stop their substance misuse.

An evaluation of the court’s work published in May 2011 showed that by the time of the final court order, 39% of mothers who agreed to use it were reunited with their children compared to 21% in standard care proceedings.

The court is run by the children’s charity Coram and Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation Trust.

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