Family drug court delivers major savings by keeping families together, finds report

Study estimates that public services to be £729,000 better off over five years thanks to work of London Family Drug and Alcohol Court

The London Family Drug and Alcohol Court’s work in 2014/15 will save the public purse £729,000 over five years primarily because fewer children will enter care, says a new report.

The Better Courts report by the Centre for Justice Innovation, a charity seeking to improve the justice system, said the court’s interventions with drug or alcohol using parents would deliver an average saving to public services of £15,850 per family over five years.

Most of the savings would be due to fewer children being taken into care than would have been under standard proceedings. The NHS and criminal justice system would also save money because of reduced drug use by the parents.

The London Family Drug and Alcohol Court (FDAC) opened in 2008 and is run by specially trained judges who work with social workers, substance misuse workers and other professionals to create personalised support packages to help parents overcome drug or alcohol addictions and show they can care for their children.


Phil Bowen, director of the Centre for Justice Innovation, said: “It’s encouraging that problem-solving in the family courts not only delivers better justice, an important achievement in itself, but that it also offers a cost-effective way to improve the lives of vulnerable children and families.”

The Centre for Justice Innovation is a member of the partnership board that governs the FDAC National Unit, the government-funded body that supports the establishment of FDACs across England.

Sophie Kershaw, co-director of the FDAC National Unit, said: “The Family Drug and Alcohol Court is simply a better, cost effective way to do care proceedings. It’s non-confrontational style offers parents the best opportunity to change and gives more children their parents back.”

The report based its savings estimates on the findings of an earlier study by Brunel University, which examined the outcomes of the cases dealt with by the London court between 2008 to 2010.

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One Response to Family drug court delivers major savings by keeping families together, finds report

  1. Tom J March 10, 2016 at 11:10 am #

    V.funny take on this story from Suesspiciousminds blog:

    ‘Family Drug and Alcohol court saves the taxpayer £2.30 for every £1 spent’.

    I myself have done some impressive calculations that show that if I eat a jammy dodger today, not only will I have saved money by eating a jammy dodger rather than some beluga caviar, but that the additional sugar content of the jammy dodger will mean that I have a reduced life expectancy, which means that I won’t need to set aside money for my retirement, an impressive saving.

    Additionally, eating the jammy dodger has a 5% chance of assisting me not to take up smoking, and as I might otherwise smoke for the next twenty years, that’s a cost saving that I need to factor in. The time I spend eating the jammy dodger might be time that I otherwise spend on my Playstation on the Hitman Beta, and thus there is a chance that there might be medical savings to be recouped from the potential in years to come of carpal tunnel syndrome.

    My dog might benefit from any crumbs I have dropped, meaning a saving on dog biscuits. I do have to offset for the additional electricity that the hoover will consume to pick up any crumbs that the dog misses (but knowing my dog, that is quite unlikely). It is also quite plausible that if I had not had the momentary high of the chewy jamminess of the biscuit that I might eventually end up trying to compensate for this by taking up an expensive hobby such as hang-gliding with associated start up costs – the NHS could save substantially by not having to treat the broken leg that I could notionally sustain.

    All in all, it emerges that every pound I spend on Jammy Dodgers results in a saving to me of £2.30.

    Imagine how much I could save if I decided to eat “Pie in the Sky” instead.