This week it was announced that the Michael Sieff Foundation plans to revive central support for the  Family Drug and Alcohol Court (FDAC) National Unit by offering privately funded backing.

Isn’t it shameful that private backing is needed to keep this successful project afloat?

The Family Drug and Alcohol Courts National Unit (FDAC) is a problem-solving court approach to improving outcomes for children involved in care proceedings. It offers an alternative – and more successful – way of supporting parents to overcome the substance misuse, mental health and domestic abuse problems that have put their children at risk of serious harm. It also offers parents optimism about recovery and change, combined with a realistic understanding of the immense challenge they face.

The FDAC project was pursued originally, and passionately, by District Judge Nicholas Creighton. Reports show that the project has been a success and set a course for subsequent ‘problem solving’ approaches within the family courts.

Here in Devon, the three local authorities (Torbay, Plymouth and Devon) ran FDAC for a year and a bit before deciding to pull out. It was very dispiriting for legal and social work practitioners to watch as FDAC was first mothballed and then declined, before vanishing altogether. Children and their families had had an amazing opportunity during its brief life.

The revival of the central support unit for the remaining FDACs is good news – but this project should not have to rely on the goodwill of private backers . It’s time for central funding – health, education, MoJ – to give real stability to a very positive way of working which has tangible costs benefit across all sectors.

Find out more about FDAC by clicking this link to their webpage.