Families in nine London boroughs can now access Family Drug and Alcohol Courts (FDAC).
A partnership of nine London boroughs, led by the London Borough of Merton, commissioned the expansion of the London FDAC service, awarded to the Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation Trust.
Families in these nine boroughs will now have the option of ordinary care proceedings, or being referred to Central London Family Court, Croydon Family Court, and West London Family Court so their case can proceed through FDAC. The nine London boroughs join 15 other local authorities around the country in operating a FDAC, with further expansion planned across the UK later in 2018.
FDAC offers an alternative form of care proceedings for parents and children in those cases where substance misuse is a key factor in the decision to bring proceedings. The service, delivered by the Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation Trust, gives parents more intensive support than they normally get, with hearings (without lawyers) led by dedicated, specially-trained judges who provide frequent encouragement and challenge as parents work on their recovery.
Paul Jenkins, Chief Executive of the Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation Trust, said:
‘Our problem-solving FDAC model is tried and tested. We know it works better than standard family proceedings in addressing the complex problems of trauma, substance misuse, mental ill health and domestic violence that families involved in care proceedings often face, and I’m delighted that families across London will now have the option of accessing a FDAC service.’
Steve Bambrough, director of the FDAC National Unit, said:
‘FDAC achieves better outcomes for parents, better outcomes for children, and better value for money and we applaud these local authorities, the courts, and the judges for taking an innovative, compassionate and evidence-based approach to family justice in the capital.’