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.  

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Read our sixth Family Law blog ‘What counts as success in FDAC cases’ here.

This powerful blog by Ed Dyer, South West Peninsula FDAC Manager, and Dr Anna Gough, FDAC Clinical Lead, uses their experience to explain their perspective on the different successes they have seen as a result of FDAC’s work and alternative approach with families in vulnerable situations.

To read all the current blogs in our FDAC Family Law series visit our website here.


The FDAC National Unit continues to get feedback from parents and professionals to feed into developments and our FDAC Service Standards Audit work with sites.

We thought you would be interested to read some of these opinions about FDAC.


Read an FDAC parent’s story in a moving guest blog by ‘Sam’ published in Social Work in East Sussex here.

Sam’s story talks about the different ways in which FDAC helped her overcome her complex issues and addiction to love herself again and to become the parent her children needed her to be.

‘I am now enjoying being me for the first time in a long time and most of all I am more than enjoying being a mum to my children, the mum that they need, and want, not the robot that replaced her for a while.

The shame I once felt is replaced with pride, it’s not always a bad ending to a dark beginning…’ Sam, guest blogger Social Work in East Sussex

You can read more stories from parents on our website in Reflections from FDAC parents.


Read FDAC Judge Penny Taylor’s great article about the South West Peninsula FDAC service here. Judge Taylor gives her perspective on how FDAC’s alternative, collaborative way of working has helped families.

‘An enabling, empowering and compassionate model for trying to resolve family conflict and difficulties.’

‘A gold service where a variety of local services are utilised and combined to solve the problem of the parents’ addiction and the impact of this on their parenting.’ Judge Taylor, The South West Peninsular Family Drug and Alcohol Court (FDAC)

FDAC Judge Karen Woodhead spoke about FDAC at the Public Child Law conference at Liverpool Law Society last month. Her presentation included some really innovative ideas on how FDAC Judges can help demystify the court process and help motivate vulnerable parents to keep tackling the hard challenges they face. She gave examples of allegories to engage parents.

‘If you build your house of straw it will soon fall down, with sticks it will last a bit longer, but the FDAC team can help you build a house of bricks.’

‘In an informal setting every Judge has to find the right way to try to get through to parents.’ Judge Woodhead

The FDAC National Unit is really looking forward to FDAC Judges sharing their experiences and practice at the FDAC Judges’ forum later this year!