15 years of the FDAC

This week marks 15 years of the Family Drug and Alcohol Courts (FDAC) and the president of the Family Division has expressed the need for them to be in every court.

Sir Andrew McFarlane (president of the Family Division) has spoken at the Centre for Justice Innovation event, informing ministers and others present of the need for FDACs in every court.

Sir Andrew McFarlane stated in the FDAC 20222-2023 report:

“It is why I have long been a supporter of our Family Drug and Alcohol Courts (FDACs). FDACs are a problem solving, court-driven, approach to care proceedings. They are specially designed to work with parents who struggle with drug and alcohol use, although FDAC parents will often also have other difficulties as well, including mental health problems and experiences of domestic abuse.”

At present, 14 FDAC teams work in 24 family courts covering 38 local authorities. The FDAC take a court case, and effectively ‘stop the clock’ mid way, aiming to provide a moment for those involved to address concerns, difficulties and problems. FDAC enables parents to receive the support from professionals that they need, that they might not have received in their local community.

McFarlane added in the report:

“From the perspective of the family court itself, FDAC cases are much less likely to result in contested hearings and much less likely to use expert witnesses. The evaluation found that FDAC’s unique blend of high-intensity, wraparound, multidisciplinary support and active judicial oversight encouraged parents to make and sustain changes.”

McFarlane highlights the need for FDACs to be present in all family courts, and the benefit these teams bring to the family justice system and all of those involved – judges, parents, carers and children.

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