Family Drug & Alcohol Courts

We have been working in our system leadership capacity to support discussions between local partners, the judiciary and the Ministry of Justice and the Centre for Justice Innovation to explore the setting up of a new Family Drug and Alcohol Court in the Thames Valley, with a current focus upon Berkshire and Oxfordshire as local systems with an interest in the model. 

The project is in its early stages but we will be supporting the explorative work over 2024 – 2025 delivery year.

Family Drug and Alcohol Courts (FDACs) were first piloted in London in January 2008.

They were introduced to the UK by the well-known District Judge Nicholas Crichton who had been inspired by Family Treatment Courts in California, and wanted to develop a similar problem-solving approach in the UK.

Crichton wanted to find a new way of working which could disrupt the pattern of family courts removing new babies over and over again from the same parents. FDAC was his answer.

FDAC has been running ever since in central London, and slowly started to spread across Greater London and then the UK from 2013. Family Drug and Alcohol Courts offer an alternative approach to ordinary care proceedings. The FDAC judge holds fortnightly court reviews with parents, in addition to the usual court hearings with lawyers present.

A specialist multi-disciplinary FDAC team works closely with the judge and other professionals to provide intensive treatment and support for parents wishing to turn their lives around. The principles underpinning FDAC are shared with other problem-solving courts and there is a firm focus on working positively with parents.

You can learn more on the national website for Family Drug and Alcohol Courts.