Family drug and alcohol courts to be rolled out nationally following funding boost

New courts will be established around the country to help parents struggling with complex substance abuse problems

The much-praised model of family drug and alcohol courts is to be rolled out across the country following a £2.5m funding boost.

Announced today, backing from the Department for Education’s innovation fund will help launch and establish new family drug and alcohol courts (FDACs) in Coventry, Kent, Medway, Plymouth, Torbay, Exeter and West Yorkshire.

Existing courts currently operate in London, Gloucestershire, Milton Keynes and Buckinghamshire, providing an alternative to care proceedings for parents struggling with complex substance abuse problems.

They work with parents, social workers and substance misuse professionals to help families struggling with addiction, and support them to stay together, where possible.

Parents only see one judge throughout proceedings to establish a trusting relationship with them, while the court offers fast access to substance misuse services.

District judge Nick Crichton, who established the first FDAC in 2008, said the backing means more families will be able to access the innovative service. “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,” he said.

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