Resolution welcomes rollout of Family Drug and Alcohol Courts

News Release

18 Feb 2015

Resolution, the organisation of 6,500 family law professionals, has welcomed today’s announcement that the hugely successful Family Drug and Alcohol Court (FDAC) is to be rolled out to more parts of England.

The Department for Education has announced that FDACs will be established in around a quarter of family courts in England.

This follows on from the FDAC that has been piloted in London from 2007, and more recently rolled out to Milton Keynes and Gloucestershire, which have seen considerable success.

In Brunel University’s evaluation of the pilot last year, it found that 40% of mothers and 25% of fathers going through the court stopped misusing substances, compared with 25% of mothers and 5% of fathers who had been through care proceedings in ordinary family courts.

The pilot FDAC also saw higher rates of family reunification: 35% of FDAC mothers stopped misusing and were reunited with their children, compared with 19% of others.

Resolution Chair, Jo Edwards, said:

“Today’s announcement is an important development for separating parents who are struggling with addiction and, more importantly, for their children.

“The results of the pilot FDAC speak for themselves – even more so when you hear the human stories. And there are demonstrable savings to the public purse – over the life of a case the cost of FDAC is £8,740 per family. This sounds like a lot, but when you consider that care placements cost £4,000 per child, together with the costs to local authorities of ordinary care cases, it’s a financial no-brainer.

“But this is about much more than saving money – it’s about working towards a solution that breaks the vicious cycle of addiction, and ultimately reunites children with their parents. You can’t put a price on that.

"Today’s announcement is further testament to the work of District Judge Nicholas Crichton, who developed this groundbreaking service, which has been so successful and has already made a difference to children of separating parents. He has led the way on this issue, and talks with great passion about some of the success stories he has seen the Court bring about.

"DJ Crichton has already been recognised by family law professionals, and we were delighted to present him with Resolution’s only Lifetime Achievement Award last year, in light of his achievements. However, we suspect he will take more satisfaction from today’s news than all the other awards and accolades combined.

"Of course, we want this to go even further. These courts will only sit once a week and hear a relatively small number of cases. The London FDAC, for example, only hears around 30 cases a year, so clearly there’s a need to do more on this front.

"We also note that the funding announced today is only for one year, and we want to see these courts there for the long haul and become an integral part of our family justice system.

"But today’s announcement is an important step in the right direction."