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.  


The FDAC National Unit would like to personally congratulate Beverly Barnett-Jones, Family Drug and Alcohol Court (FDAC) Project Manager, FDAC advocate and friend, for she has been recognised for her hard work and compassion at the 2018 Queens Birthday Honours.

Beverley was awarded the Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) at a Ceremony last Saturday (June 9) for her services to social work and in developing the FDAC programme in the Midlands.

A qualified social worker who has worked in the field of child protection and family justice for many years, Beverley championed the setup of a FDAC in Coventry and was instrumental in the development of a court based assessment service (CBAS) offering families going through the family court an excellent service of assessment and intervention. Beverley is a first generation Windrush Child, whose parents hail from Jamaica, and has recently blogged about her reaction to receiving the award.

Coventry’s FDAC began seeing families in 2015, giving families a real opportunity to try and turn their lives around and ultimately keep families together.  Beverley’s determination means many more families in Coventry have access to FDAC’s unique and successful approach which improves the lives of children who face removal due to their parents substance misuse issues.

Beverley is now working with Walsall Borough Council and 5 other Local Authorities to bring a new FDAC to help families in the Black Country.

Beverley Barnett-Jones MBE said:
“It was an honour to receive this recognition. Working in this field can be equal parts challenging and rewarding on a daily basis, and to receive a formal honour is a good feeling for both myself and my colleagues. I have learnt much from the parents and children I have worked with and the remarkable resilience and bravery many have shown in sometimes difficult and painful recovery journeys. It has been a wondrous opportunity to work with and find FDAC. ”

Steve Bambrough, Director of the FDAC National Unit, said:
“Everyone in the FDAC community is proud of Beverley. This is well deserved recognition for Beverley, for both her social work and her tireless efforts to setup an FDAC in Coventry and now the Black Country. She really wanted to give families the best chance at positive outcomes, and an MBE is great recognition for both Beverley and the teams she has worked with.”


22 June 2018

The Family Drug and Alcohol Court National Unit is set to close from the end of September.

Steve Bambrough, Director of the FDAC National Unit, said:

“When we announced receipt of ‘in principle’ funding via social impact bond 8 months ago it was with great hope that this would lead to expansion of the successful Family Drug and Alcohol Court (FDAC) model. Instead, we’re now facing potential closure of the national unit at the end of September and the considerable impact this will have on vulnerable families.

“There are currently 10 FDACs working in 15 courts and serving families in 23 local authorities. FDAC sites are not closing. We hope the closure of the FDAC National Unit (the central  hub established to roll out new FDACs and to support, train, quality assure and promote local FDACs) will not jeopardise the continuing viability of existing FDACs and the important work teams do to support some of the most vulnerable and marginalised parents and children in our society.

“Families who have been through FDAC are significantly more likely than families in standard care proceedings to be reunited with their children, and for the parents to have ceased misusing substances. We know this because our national unit evaluates, assesses, and works with local authorities to ensure their FDAC is working the way it should to help vulnerable families address complex problems of trauma, substance misuse, mental ill health and domestic violence. If we remove national support from the FDAC model, we could lose consistency, and possibly in the long term, quality of care for these families.

“That is not to denigrate the amazing work of our local FDAC teams in any way, but a simple reality that complex problems requires support and oversight, especially for those local authorities setting up new FDACs in the future. Without the right support we risk losing a very special service that works and has provided hope for many people in the worst of times, and we hope to be able to work with local authorities and other partners to find a solution to keeping this support going at least in some form.

“It has always been difficult to fund the unit, despite the value it adds, due to lack of multi-agency and cross government funding options. Often the cost of FDACs are born solely by local authorities when the savings the courts engender are felt throughout the system (not only in children’s services, but in criminal justice, health, and beyond). We had hoped the SIBs model would help address this, but unfortunately due to a combination of factors this has not worked out.”

By close of business today we should be at £225k over the next three years. Special mention to @FLiPltd & @addcounsel for driving this forward. Come on all you #FamilyLaw teams out there.. get in touch ..we can do this! IMO there is no better cause than saving @FDAC_NU #savefdac https://t.co/udFHLFevJA

Great to bring together FDAC Team Managers and Clinical Leads yesterday to discuss post-proceedings support to families! The National Unit regularly facilitates such forums, offering a chance for local FDACs to network, share ideas and good practice #savefdac #problemsolving

@FDAC_NU initiates new local FDACs across England & trains, supports, problem solves & quality assures their working. It provides services which each local FDAC would otherwise need to do itself. @FDAC_NU should be funded to expand the network, not closed. https://t.co/jmCajxhGzr

Brilliant exposure for a brilliant and worthwhile cause. #savefdac #fdac @FDAC_NU 👏👏 please please please #RT https://t.co/VKd6uCdJva

Load More...