FDACs deal with families at risk of having their children permanently removed because of drug and alcohol problems. These problem solving courts are different because a dedicated judge and a team of social workers, psychiatrists and substance misuse experts monitor parents to address their substance misuse and parenting problems. Earlier this month the Prime Minister announced that the government is examining how to deliver more problem-solving courts in England and Wales.
New evidence from the Centre for Justice Innovation reveals that FDAC saves the taxpayer £2.30 for every £1 spent. Compared to standard care proceedings the specialist family court - already found to be more effective with families - is now revealed to be better value for money. The extra support and supervision provided by FDAC helps more children return safely to their families, meaning that £17,000 less per case is spent on adoption and fostering. Parents going through FDAC are more likely to overcome their drug and alcohol problems. This saves £5,000 per case by reducing both the amount that the NHS spends treating parents and that the criminal justice system spends prosecuting drug-related crime. In addition, families who appear in FDAC are less likely to return to court, making significant savings on court and legal costs.
The original Family Drug and Alcohol Court opened in London in 2008. Over the last two years 12 further courts have opened nationwide and more are in development. FDAC judge Nicholas Crichton was recently awarded an honorary doctorate to mark his contribution to child and family welfare and to the development of problem solving models of justice.
Judge Nicholas Crichton said,