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The establishment, development and achievements of FDAC have been described and celebrated in a wide range of articles, reports and films.

Click the “+” symbol next to each entry to read the abstract and then click the link to download the full article or watch the film.

Scroll to the end of the list for how to contact the FDAC National Unit.

+ FDAC Blog Series: how the model works in practice, how the national rollout is going, new developments and findings from research. Family Law, publications 2017 to present

We are delighted to have the opportunity to talk in more detail about the FDAC approach and process in this series of blogs that cover a range of topics. Each blog is authored by someone in a local FDAC team or by a member of the National Unit.  The aim is to provide a wider audience with more detailed information about FDAC: how the model works in practice, how the national rollout is going, new developments and findings from research.

It’s great to have this opportunity to spread the word about FDAC. We hope you enjoy following the blog, and sharing it with others too! We’ll let you know when each new blog is published and all published blogs can be found here:

Family Drug and Alcohol Court: an introduction

The FDAC Trial for change combining expert assessment and intervention during proceedings

FDAC – a trauma informed service

Picking the ‘right’ cases for FDAC – is it possible?

Non-lawyer review hearings – at the heart of a successful FDAC

What counts as success in FDAC cases?

Understanding Children’s Needs and Timescales within the FDAC Model  

FDAC parent mentors – a unique approach to supporting parents 

Sustaining FDACs in times of austerity

Testing for drugs and alcohol in FDAC

A day in the life of… Sophie Kershaw (FDAC NU co-Director)

A day in the life of… Mary Ryan (Independent consultant, RyanTunnardBrown)

+ Care Crisis Review: Options for Change, Family Rights Group, June 2018

The Care Crisis Review has published its report in June 2018. It considers how to address the Care Crisis, and explores the factors which have contributed to the number of children in care reaching the highest level since the Children Act 1989 was enacted and care order applications reaching record levels in 2017. The Review has brought together a ‘coalition of the willing’ from across the child welfare and family justice sectors in England and Wales. It was a response to the President of the Family Division of the High Court, Sir James Munby’s call to action in 2016: “We are facing a crisis and, truth be told, we have no very clear strategy for meeting the crisis. What is to be done?”

Funded by the Nuffield Foundation and facilitated by Family Rights Group, the Review comprised an inclusive listening exercise with over 2,000 people across England and Wales. This was complemented by a rapid academic review of evidence about the contributing factors to the crisis.

It features FDAC as an example of good practice (FDAC mentioned on page 35 paragraphs 4.11 to 4.14, on page 41 paragraph 5.11 and on page 50).

Read the press release here

Read the full report here

For more information, visit Family Rights Group.

+ Child and parent outcomes in the London Family Drug and Alcohol Court five years on: building on international evidence: International Journal of Law, Policy and the Family, 05 April 2018

This article first aims to draw together international studies to examine how far Family Drug Treatment Courts (FDTCs) demonstrate lasting impacts after FDTC intervention and court process ends. It then presents evidence on outcomes of the London FDAC, up to five years after the court case ended. The discussion considers findings across the evaluations and makes further research and policy recommendations. The article concludes scant international evidence and lack of significant longitudinal evaluations inhibits an authoritative answer on the contribution of family drug courts to the durability of family reunification and substance misuse cessation. It highlights the importance of London FDACs longitudinal evaluation as it provides new evidence on longer-term positive effects from FDACs approach.

The article identifies a clear message across English and international evidence, the need for more family support to enhance durability of reunifications for all children affected by parental substance misuse. Despite many challenges, greater investment in largescale, follow-up studies of family drug courts are urgently needed to inform public policy and practice. The article sees the evaluation of London FDAC as a starting point, providing learning for future research, in the pursuit of an accumulated body of knowledge on the longer-term outcomes of family drug courts.

Read here

+ The troubling surge in English children being taken their parents: The Economist, 22 March 2018

An article looking at the troubling surge in children being taken from their parents in the care system and the need to break the cycle of neglect. The article looks at issues in the care service; continued rise in care applications, funding cuts and challenges and looks at examples of problem solving services to break the cycle and support the increasing number of vulnerable children and families.

Read here

+Family Courts are a revolving door for too many parents: Social Care Network, the Guardian, 20 November 2017

An article about the need to upgrade the family justice system and support innovating approaches like FDAC that help break the patterns that blight the lives of children and families in care proceedings. Read about the challenges of hard-pressed local authorities to fund sustainable services to help families turn their lives around and how the FDAC National Unit is exploring an innovative social investment funding model to make FDACs proven approach more commonplace to give hope to more children and their families.

Read here

+Victoria Derbyshire interview and compelling report on FDACs approach and support for families and about how the Government's Life Chances Fund can contribute to FDACs roll out. BBC 2, Victoria Derbyshire, 18 October 2017

 Watch this powerful report by Catrin Nye about how FDAC’s alternative problem solving approach helped an FDAC parent to change his life for a positive future with his family:

Victoria Derbyshire interviewed Steve Bambrough, FDAC NU Manager, and former FDAC parent following an announcement from Government of an in principle award from the Life Chances Funds to support positive outcomes delivered by FDAC services. She hears from former parent about FDACs approach for working with families in care proceedings and how the Government’s Life Chances Fund will contribute to the continued roll out of FDAC.

Watch the debate with Victoria Derbyshire here at 1hr 9mins :

+ Cilex Journal cover story: The Family Drug and Alcohol (Problem Solving) Court, April 2017

This article about FDAC took a prominent position as the cover story in April 2017’s publication of the Cilex Journal.

Read about the history of FDAC, how FDAC works, FDACs evidence base and the National Unit in this informative article on the story of FDAC so far. Written by our two Development Co-Ordinators,   Jo-Ann Maycock and Gabriella Brent, there’s an interview with pioneering FDAC Judge Nick Crichton and reflections from Parents who have had first-hand experience of FDACs alternative problem-solving approach.

Read the article and pass it on

+ Working with parents in a problem-solving way: new evidence about Family Drug and Alcohol Courts, Research in Practice, 6 December 2016

Hear from Jo Tunnard, National Unit Partner, read her blog ‘Working with parents in a problem-solving way: new evidence about Family Drug and Alcohol Courts’ on the Research in Practice website. Jo’s blog highlights the key messages for practitioners, managers and commissioners from 2016  FDAC research findings.

+ Victoria Derbyshire interviews FDAC's founder Nicolas Crichton and former FDAC parent. BBC 2, Victoria Derbyshire show, 22 September 2016

Watch this compelling interview about FDAC’s effective problem solving approach to care proceedings. Victoria Derbyshire interviews FDAC’s founder Judge and an FDAC parent.

+ US-style problem-solving courts planned for England and Wales

Read about ministers giving their support to problem-solving courts for convicted criminals here

+ The gaping hole in therapeutic support to reduce the need for care proceedings. Social Care Network, The Guardian, 11 April 2016

Keep up with the debate about this catch-22 for families: parents need intensive therapeutic support to enable them to move on from past trauma and parent their baby well, but lack of access to the support needed increases the likelihood that care proceedings will be instigated now, and for subsequent children. Read more here

+ Family drug court delivers major savings by keeping families together, finds report. Community Care, March 2016

Study estimates that public services to be £729,000 better off over five years thanks to work of London Family Drug and Alcohol Courts! Read more here

+ Award for first FDAC Judge, February 2016

Judge Nick Crichton received the award of Honorary Doctor of Education on 27 February 2016, at the graduation ceremony of  the University of East London and The Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation Trust. The award was to mark his contribution “to child and family welfare and to the development of problem-solving models of justice”.

Read about the award here

+ FDAC - The Facts. Family Law, July 2015

An overview of FDAC’s work and success since the London service opened in 2008. Explaining the differences between FDAC and ordinary care proceedings, findings of the independent five-year evaluation, the role of the judge and the specialist team, and plans for expanding to new sites.

Click here for more information.

+ Update on FDAC. Family Law, July 2015

An update on the FDAC National Unit, established in April 2015 to promote the growth of local FDACs in England. Including early lessons from existing sites, reflections on the importance of retaining fidelity to the evaluated model, and words of support from the President of the Family Division of the High Court of England and Wales.

Click here for more information.

+ Early FDAC: Families Do Achieve Change. Family Matters, bulletin of the Greater London Family Panel, July 2015

A brief summary of Early FDAC, an intervention piloted in 3 local authorities with FDAC during 2015 to 2017. Early FDAC is for pregnant women (and partners) who have had one or more children previously removed through court proceedings. What was different was that it offered early help to families, before the local authority started pre-birth assessment. If proceedings were issued, the case was heard in the FDAC court and the support to parents continued for two years, regardless of the final decision of the court.

Click here for more information.

+ Rolling out FDAC: using care proceedings to help families overcome their substance misuse problems and keep their children safe. Research In Practice, July 2015

A blog about the June 2015 national networking meeting organised by the FDAC National Unit for new FDAC sites. With sessions on making the court more family friendly, developing the independent specialist team attached to the court, and the essential ingredients underpinning the FDAC model. The blog describes the National Unit and summarises the research into cases heard in FDAC and in standard care proceedings.

Click here for more information.

+ Inside the secret court that helps victims of drug abuse keep their families together. The Guardian, 17 May 2015

A day in the London FDAC court. With observations on the way hearings are run, both with and without lawyers present, and with comments about the process from parents and from the different professionals involved.

Click here for more information.

+ Are we failing parents whose children are taken into care? The Guardian, 25 April 2015

Two case studies of mothers who have experienced the repeat removal of children in care proceedings. With information about current research into the extent of the problem and plans for FDAC to pilot Early FDAC, a combined assessment and intervention service to help break the cycle of loss and trauma.

Click here for more information.

+ Family Drug and Alcohol Courts to be extended in England. BBC film, 18 February 2015

A news video to coincide with the announcement of the funding of the FDAC National Unit. A mother talks about how FDAC made a difference to her life and an FDAC judge talks about the growing number of mothers and fathers whom FDAC helps stay “sober and clean”.

Click here for to watch the video.

+ More to benefit from specialist family drug and alcohol courts. Family Law, 18 February 2015

The DfE press release announcing the Innovation Programme grant for establishing the FDAC National Unit to nurture the expansion of the FDAC model in England. With comments from Partner agencies running the National Unit and links to research studies about the problems that the FDAC model seeks to address.

Click here for more information.

+ Specialist court helps families overcome substance misuse. Children & Young People Now, 17 February 2015

A brief explanation of why and how FDAC was established in London, how it operates and what it costs, the Partner agencies who have formed the FDAC National Unit, and the evidence for the success of the FDAC service model.

Click here for more information.

+ The specialist courts that care about keeping families together. The Guardian, 3 February 2015

The experience of a father whose care case was heard in FDAC, who stopped misusing drugs and alcohol and was reunited with his son, and who is now a volunteer parent mentor helping others going through the FDAC intervention. The article previews a conference to discuss ways of improving the UK court system, with a particular focus on clear and fair interactions between judges and families, as happens in FDAC.

Click here for more information.

+ Building Better Courts: Lessons from London's Family Drug and Alcohol Court. Centre for Justice Innovation, 24 July 2014

A report from the Centre for Justice Innovation that explores the implementation history of FDAC in order to identify key strategies that laid the foundation for the success of the project. They were about targeting a clearly-defined and well-evidenced problem of relevance to policymakers and local commissioners, forming a coalition with a diverse range of expertise and authority, drawing on evidence to identify promising models, developing a locally-tailored solution, evaluating from the start of the project, making new use of existing resources, and identifying immediate cost savings.

Click here for more information.

+ Assessing Parental Capacity to Change when Children are on the Edge of Care: an overview of current research evidence. Centre for Child and Family Research, Loughborough University, June 2014

An overview of the research evidence about the factors that promote or inhibit parental capacity to change in families with significant child protection concerns. In chapter 5, about motivation and engagement, a section on family drug courts (page 91) describes the FDAC model and the findings of both stages of the independent evaluation of the service. It explains the reasons for developing FDAC: poor child and parent outcomes in families with parental substance misuse, insufficient co-ordination between adult and children’s services, late intervention to protect children, delay in reaching decisions, and the increasing costs of proceedings, linked to the cost of expert evidence.

Click here for more information.

+ 12th View from the President's Chamber: The process of reform: next steps. Family Law, 9 June 2014

An update from the President, including implementation of the final version of the revised PLO in public law cases (PLO 2014) and a section on FDAC in which the President praises FDAC as “a vital component in the new Family Court” and challenges DFJs to establish an FDAC in their area.

Click here for more information.

+ Study praises Family Drug and Alcohol Court pilot. Family Law, 1 May 2014

A summary of the main findings of the independent evaluation of FDAC (higher rate of substance misuse cessation, family reunification and the offer of services from other agencies, and lower rate of repeat neglect of children returned home by the court) and comments of endorsement from Partner agencies in the FDAC National Unit.

Click here for more information.

+ Changing Lifestyles, Keeping Children Safe: An evaluation of the first Family Drug and Alcohol Court (FDAC) in care proceedings. The Centre for Child and Youth Research Department, Brunel University, May 2014

Final report of the 5-year independent evaluation of the London FDAC.

Plus a summary of the findings and four main recommendations for developing FDAC further. Highlights from the Final Report from the Nuffield Foundation who, with a contribution from the Home Office, funded the research study.

Click here for more information.

+ How does the Family Drug and Alcohol Court fit with the current changes to family justice? Family Law, October 2012

An article from the Brunel researchers involved in the evaluation study (see above), exploring the recommendation of the Family Justice Review about judicial continuity and concluding that the model has considerable potential to contribute to the improvement of care proceedings and, by doing so, improve outcomes for children and parents.

Click here for more information.

+ FDAC’s social worker talks about her role as a parent’s key worker. Social Work Matters film, 2013

FDAC’s social worker talks about her role as a parent’s key worker. Social Work Matters film, 2013

Click here to watch the video.

+ FDAC’s service manager describes what the FDAC court and specialist team help parents achieve. Social Work Matters film, 2013

FDAC’s service manager describes what the FDAC court and specialist team help parents achieve. Social Work Matters film, 2013

Click here to watch the video. 

+ Research Update on Family Drug Courts. National Association of Drug Court Professionals Journal (USA), May 2012

An overview of evidence from 12 methodologically-acceptable evaluations of family drug courts, including the Brunel study of the London FDAC. Whilst not successful for all parents, the results are promising: as well as bringing benefits to the children involved, and savings to children’s services and other agencies, the family drug court is one of the most effective programmes for improving both entry to substance abuse treatment and completion rates by parents.

Click here for more information.

+ Strengthening prospects for safe and lasting family reunification: can a Family Drug and Alcohol Court make a contribution? Journal of Social Welfare and Family Law, 13 November 2013

An article from the authors of the Brunel evaluation of FDAC (see above) that makes the case for developing an FDAC aftercare service to help promote lasting reunification and safe and committed parenting.

Click here for more information.

+ A court with substance. YoungMinds Magazine, 2012

A special feature on FDAC and its positive results in helping parents overcome drug and alcohol misuse. Highlighting FDAC’s collaborative approach and step-by-step therapeutic programme that focuses first on substance misuse and then moves on to strengthen parent-child relationships and parenting skills.

Click here for more information.

+ Drug and alcohol misusing families: getting them back on track. Legal Action Group (Annual Lecture), February 2012

A summary of the LAG annual lecture of December 2011, in which DJ Nick Crichton, Dr Mike Shaw and Sophie Kershaw use case histories to describe the work of the FDAC court and specialist team.

Click here for more information.

+ Fairer Hearings for Parents. The Guardian, 23 November 2011

An article about the multi-agency collaborative work and problem-solving approach of FDAC, winner of the newspaper’s national Service delivery: Children and young people award. With a focus on the consistency of having the same team of professionals and judge, meaning that parents don’t have to repeat their story over and over again to different professionals at different stages.

Click here for more information.

+ The Partnership Working Award. Children & Young People Now, 2012

An article to mark FDAC winning the magazine’s award for an outstanding multi-agency project that has made most demonstrable difference to people’s lives.

Click here for more information.

+ The FDAC pilot - a new way of working. Network, the newsletter of support for primary care-based treatment for problematic drug and alcohol use, September 2010

An overview of the FDAC pilot in London, including its innovative work in including parent mentors in the work of its specialist team.

Click here for more information.

+ The Family Drug Court. Children & Young People Now, 12 January 2012

An early article about the London FDAC pilot project, with a detailed case study about how FDAC helped a mother to see the positives in her difficult life, overcome her alcohol misuse and retain care of her child.

Click here for more information.

+ Drug court that saves families and money. The Times, 26 November 2009

An article that describes the progress of the London FDAC pilot 20 months after being established and its aspirations to help reduce the proportion of mothers who experience the trauma of repeat removals of successive children.

Click here for more information.

+ The Role of the Court in Cases Concerning Parental Substance Misuse and Children at Risk of Harm. Journal of Social Welfare and Family Law, December 2007

An early article, by members of the Brunel evaluation team, explaining the key issues to be tested through independent scrutiny of the London FDAC pilot.

Click here for more information.

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