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Family drug and alcohol court (FDAC)

New service location

From Monday 11 March, our service is now located at The Monroe Centre, 33a Daleham Gardens, Camden, London, NW3 5BU



Available in:

Barking and Dagenham, Bromley, Camden, Croydon, Kingston upon Thames, Lambeth, Redbridge, Richmond, Southwark, Sutton, Waltham Forest, Wandsworth

We help people with

What we do

We aim to help parents stabilise/stop using drugs/alcohol and, where possible, keep families together.

Recent research has found that 52% of the children whose cases go through FDAC are able to remain with their parents, compared with just 12.5% in standard family care proceedings.

Instead of the usual care proceedings court process, a family chosen for the family drug and alcohol court process goes through a very different process set up to help tackle drug and alcohol problems through the ‘trial for change’.

Families in proceedings with FDAC will get an allocated Judge meaning that the Judge will know the families case and history inside-out giving consistency to all involved. The parent will also go to court every 2 weeks to speak directly with their judge – These hearings are called ‘non-lawyer reviews’.

We work with families in proceedings and outside of proceedings (pre proceedings). We do not just accept drug & alcohol referrals; FDAC also works with families where the main issues are not drugs & alcohol; For example, cases where the main concerns involve mental health and/or domestic abuse.

FDAC is a multidisciplinary team that involves coordinating a range of services so that the family’s needs, concerns and strengths are all taken into account. The aim is for everyone to work towards the best possible outcome for the children.

What to expect

A comprehensive assessment will take place at the beginning that includes looking at your family strengths as well as concerns. The assessment takes into account any existing information and looks at your current needs. This assessment appointment will take the best of the day and will be split into two parts; One half of the day will be with a social worker and the other half of the day will be with a substance misuse specialist. This will allow the team to get a sense of your families case through fresh eyes and allow us to see where the main points of concern lie.

During the assessment day you will also be tested for drugs and alcohol (but don’t worry, this is a normal part of the process. During FDAC you will be regularly tested and its important to be as open and honest as possible in order for us to be able to help you in the best way possible and also for you to be able to evidence any abstinence).

After your initial assessment you will have an intervention planning meeting (IPM). These meetings are 1 hour long and your local authority social worker, as well as your children’s Cafcass Guardian, will be invited to help keep your case on track. For example, we look to problem solve current issues with the professional network as well as discussing what is going well. Towards the end of the meeting we will discuss a plan for the upcoming 6-8 weeks until the next meeting.

Following on from this you will have weekly key work sessions and routine testing with your allocated keyworker. You will also have non-lawyer reviews every two weeks with your allocated Judge who will help motivate you and problem solve throughout your time with us.

A parent mentor is usually present during the court and assessment period to provide you with support, encouragement and reassurance. Following the assessment, if you would like, a parent mentor can be assigned to your family. This person has similar experiences to yours and can offer you encouragement and advice.

How to access this service

All cases that go through the local authorities usual care proceedings court process and care plan process are looked at to see if they are suitable for the family drug and alcohol court.

If the local authority identify your family as suitable for our service then you will be given the choice to continue with the usual care proceedings process or see us.

What previous patients say

I feel as though I am heard and listened to, and that I have some sort of say. Having non-lawyer hearings really helped. I feel supported
FDAC has given me the chance to better myself and become more confident. It has given me a chance to prove myself and become a better mother
FDAC believe and supported me to believe in myself. I have become a present, proud and confident parent and woman. FDAC supported me and taught me skills throughout this process