Statement on FDAC National Unit Closure

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.”

 

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