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USE OF DRUGS INCREASES THE PAIN BUT A SPOONFUL OF FDAC HELPS!

An internet search using the words ‘social care, family law, drugs and alcohol’ will almost certainly direct you to the Family Drugs and Alcohol Court, otherwise known as FDAC. Perhaps with just a touch of hyperbole FDAC has been described as ‘one of the most important developments in family justice in the last 40 years’. Its stated aim of helping victims of drugs abuse keep their families together is a laudable one from both a moral and a legal perspective. Adoption has rightly been described as the most Draconian order that any Court can make since the abolition of the death penalty.

Research focusing on mothers and children shows that FDAC is pretty much doing what it says on the tin. Nearly half of all FDAC ‘graduates’ had stopped misusing alcohol and drugs by the end of the FDAC proceedings. More than half of ‘graduates’ who kept their children were still ‘clean’ five years after the proceedings had ended. This is a significant improvement when compared to the 24% success rate in ordinary care proceedings. Research suggests that FDAC is also a cheaper form of state intervention for children at risk of suffering significant harm by parents who misuse drugs and alcohol.  The ubiquitous rhetorical questioner will therefore be forgiven for her enquiry as to why FDACs are not being given the financial support, from central government and Local Authorities, that they need to survive? Unfortunately, the answer given is a densely opaque, politician’s one.  In a Parliamentary written answer to a question about funding, the Children’s Minister, said: “Funding for the national unit was originally provided on the basis that it would expand the FDAC model to new areas and that it would help the unit to be self-sustaining. Unfortunately, this has proved challenging, despite considerable effort and investment by both the government and the NHS trust. The government is committed to finding effective approaches to spreading innovative, evidence-based models of practice to local areas.” Sorry?

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