The FDAC National Unit uses the term Service Standards to describe the key elements of an FDAC service that has fidelity to the FDAC model, as evaluated.
Development of these standards was funded through a Department for Education grant.
The Service Standards
FDAC is a therapeutic problem-solving family court with specially-trained judges and an independent, multidisciplinary assessment and intervention team.
Parents are able to make an informed choice about whether to accept the offer of FDAC.
All parents who choose to work with FDAC will be offered a ‘trial for change’.
The assessment and intervention work of the FDAC specialist team starts promptly and proceeds without delay.
Once the FDAC Intervention Plan has the authority of the court the ‘trial for change’ begins, and parents and professionals have clear tasks to perform and a timescale to adhere to.
FDAC work is collaborative – there is regular communication between the judge and the specialist team, and both work closely with parents, the local authority and others involved with the children and their families.
Parents have the opportunity of support from a parent mentor.
The procedure in court, including the use of non-lawyer hearings, acknowledges the role of the judge as a catalyst for change, nurturing a relationship with parents and giving families a voice in the proceedings.
The FDAC intervention plan is agreed at the Intervention Planning Meeting and is informed by the FDAC assessment of the needs of the children and the parents. The intervention plan is revised as necessary during the court process, whilst remaining mindful of the timescales required by (a) the law and Public Law Outline, and (b) the importance of responding to children’s needs in a timely fashion. The intervention plan is adopted by the Local Authority as their interim care plan.
The FDAC specialist team uses the National Unit data collection tools to measure the health and well-being of each child and parent during their time in FDAC, with a view to understanding the impact of FDAC on families and highlighting potential areas for improvement and service development.
We call these the FDAC Service Standards because, taken together, they summarise our expectations about (a) the provision and ethos of an FDAC service and (b) what a service in development will be working towards.
The Practice Indicators
The FDAC National Unit has developed a set of Practice Indicators to sit alongside the Service Standards. These help FDAC sites measure the progress they are making towards fidelity. They are also a useful guide for the National Unit’s work of helping new sites establish themselves.
In conjunction with representatives from current FDAC sites the FDAC National Unit has developed an FDAC Service Standards Audit process.
For more information about how the FDAC Service Standard Audit tools could help you in starting an FDAC please email Albinia Stanley at the Centre for Justice Innovation.