Family Drug and Alcohol Courts backed by private donors

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A group of private backers has agreed to fund a national unit supporting courts which help parents deal with drug or alcohol addiction so their children are not taken into care.

The unit, which supports the 13 Family Drug and Alcohol Courts (FDAC) in the UK, was forced to close last year when government funding was cut.

The courts give specialist support to help parents overcome their addiction.

Supporters say by helping keep families together they save taxpayer money.

The courts, which are led by specially trained judges, work closely with a team of social workers, psychiatrists and substance misuse workers to support parents.

Research has found that in cases heard in FDAC, children are less likely to be taken into care permanently and less likely to experience further neglect and abuse, while parents are more likely to cease their drug use.

The first FDAC was set up in London in 2008, with cross-government funding.

The Department of Education supported the rollout of the model, with 13 now in operation across the UK.

However last year it withdrew funding for the national unit which supports the courts, forcing it to close.

Now a group of private backers and philanthropists has pledged £280,000 to fund a new national partnership to support and extend the model and seek long term government funding.

A fundraising campaign was backed by LCM Wealth, which advises high net worth families, family law firm Family Law in Partnership and AddCounsel, which provides behavioural health programmes, along with other anonymous supporters.

‘Problem-solving approach’

Phil Bowen, director of the Centre for Justice Innovation, which will direct the new national unit, said the funding would help expand the valuable work of the courts.

“They get to the root of difficulties faced by parents struggling with substance misuse using a therapeutic, problem-solving approach, giving vulnerable children a better start in life, keeping families together and saving taxpayer money,” he said.

A government spokesman said the courts offered “important support” for families.

He added that the government was also investing £16bn in public health services and had set out a wide-ranging drug strategy to help families facing problems with substance misuse.


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