FDAC: the problem-solving court

FDAC is a problem-solving court approach to improving outcomes for children involved in care proceedings. It offers an alternative – and more successful – way of supporting parents to overcome the substance misuse, mental health and domestic abuse problems that have put their children at risk of serious harm. It offers parents optimism about recovery and change, combined with a realistic understanding of the immense challenge they face.

The FDAC National Unit

The National Unit is a partnership of five organisations working to extend the FDAC service across England and Wales and to change the way children and families experience care proceedings. This website explains the FDAC model and the work of the National Unit. It will keep you up to date with news from existing and new FDAC sites, the emerging lessons from practice and research, and answers to the common questions people ask us.  

Fdac newspapers, fdac, national unit, fdac model, evidence model, research, problem-solving, research, evaluation

FDAC National Networking Conference: 17th October 2017

We’ve recently held our 2nd annual National Networking FDAC Conference, it was a great success!

The conference brings together FDAC Teams and FDAC Judges from all the national FDAC sites. This year the conference focused on therapeutic practice and group work in FDACs around the country. The day provided an opportunity for existing FDACs to think about developments for the future, ways they can support each other as a community and ways to deepen FDAC’s therapeutic practice.

The conference saw problem solving community discussions, a presentation on important new research findings, ‘Vulnerable Birth Mothers and Recurrent Care Proceedings’, and a great range of interactive groups showcasing lots of interesting practice from across FDAC sites.

It is always brilliant to see the FDAC community come together; their skills, compassion, enthusiasm and commitment for the work they all do is so evident and that is what makes the difference for families in FDAC. The FDAC NU would like to personally thank the FDAC community for their continued hard work, dedication and innovation. They are all vital in nurturing the growth of FDAC!

‘As ever I left invigorated and inspired! A great opportunity to be reminded we are part of a bigger family.’

 ‘Thought provoking, profound, needed.’ on Vulnerable Mothers presentation by Claire Mason

‘The workshops were a great idea; it was really useful to hear from various FDAC teams on the interventions they are using.’  

FDAC means finding better solutions to the problems that arise in people’s lives. Aligning ourselves on the side of hope and regeneration.’ FDAC NU Director

Tribute to Judge Julie Exton by Jane Marriott, Team Manager of FDAC Gloucestershire

Very late on Sunday 8th October Julie Exton lost her life to Motor Neurone disease. Julie was the longest serving FDAC judge after Nick Crichton; she had been an FDAC judge for 5 years when she died. She was a really strong and committed FDAC judge.  She worked tirelessly to ensure that FDAC was set up in Gloucestershire and that it was sustained.  In the face of some local resistance Julie stood up for FDAC with wit and humanity.  She used to say that sitting in the FDAC court on a Friday was her favourite day of the week.  She engaged very well with parents and they have been shocked and saddened by her illness and death and will miss her greatly.  Julie was keen to test out different kinds of practice within FDAC, so for example, in those cases which ended with a supervision order and children returning home, families would come back to court for non- lawyer reviews throughout the period of the supervision order, on an informal basis.

One mother had been very impressed at a non-lawyer review when Julie told her that when she had been at University she had been to see the Clash.  I bumped into this mother in the local town one day and she proudly showed me the piercing she had had done in honour of the judge.  Another young mother said recently ‘ Oh I loved Judge Exton – she really whipped me into shape’.

Julie was diagnosed with motor neurone disease in June of this year.  She had died very quickly and there is great sadness within our FDAC family that we didn’t have more time with her.

From my own perspective, I have been blessed in my working life to work with four women who have been profoundly influential and important to me and Julie was one of these four women.


Tribute from the FDAC National Unit

It was with great sadness that the FDAC National Unit, and the whole FDAC community, heard about the death of Julie Exton. District Judge Exton was a powerful advocate for FDAC in Gloucestershire and nationally, and we have very fond memories of her and the support she gave to us.

Judge Exton also had a significant impact in the legal world outside of her FDAC work. She was the second woman president of the Association of District Judges and she was critical of the negative impact of the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act upon family law cases.

She will be remembered for her hard work, dedication and intelligence, but also for her humanity and the great example she set for others. We will miss her generosity of spirit, her compassionate intelligence and her dedication to the cause of justice.

Powerful film and article depicting the traumatic experience of care proceedings, the need for an alternative approach supporting parents and demystifying the process! #recurrentcare @louisetickle Read about FDACs trauma informed approach https://t.co/VeGAKG5sqy


Film depicts reality for young parents at risk of having a child taken into care

Animation by Just for Kids Law aims to prompt social workers to consider the frustrations and fears of legal proceedings from the young person’s perspective

Great that @BSW_UK invited East Sussex FDAC Team to present at a national conference today. We need to spread the word about FDAC's approach, working with vulnerable families in care proceedings to help them address issues for brighter futures! @Vicks2


Vicki Ellis and Kelli Shackleton speak next on "Hope and Jeopardy, the road to recovery in the context of care proceedings, insights of FDAC, East Sussex" #SIG17

Come and join our team! An exciting opportunity to work with the FDAC NU - growing and nurturing FDACs nationally to support more vulnerable families https://t.co/PLpqe8WpT5

Read more about FDAC https://t.co/yMTV2jAgZV

FDAC's biggest challenge is LAs seeking to sustain funding for their FDACs in the current economic climate. We need to continue to offer FDAC for hopeful futures for more children and families! FDAC seeks innovative funding: https://t.co/9YLDyNgpRX @PaulBurstow @DominicRaab

The FDAC community pay tribute to Judge Julie Exton, longest serving FDAC judge after Nick Crichton. With great sadness we heard about her death in early October. Julie Exton's influence, compassion and dedication to the cause of justice will be remembered https://t.co/jxnRohvyBi

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