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Update on the work, funding and success of the Family Drug and Alcohol Court

BBC’s “Law in Action” programme examines the innovative approach and impact of the FDAC in children cases involving parental substance abuse.

BBC'S "Law in Action" features the groundbreaking work pioneered by District Judge Nicholas Crichton and the Family Drug and Alcohol Court (FDAC) team piloted at Wells Street's Family Proceedings Court in central London.

The programme can be found at http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b01d13xx (this section begins 10 mins 30 seconds into the broadcast).

DJ Nicholas Crichton, winner of the Outstanding Achievement award at the Legal Aid Lawyer of the Year (LALY) Awards last year, describes the aims and benefits of the scheme and the funding challenges it has faced. The judge considers that the FDAC the scheme is "better for parents, better for children, better for families and ultimately better for our society." 

Sophie Kershaw, Head of the FDAC social work team describes how the scheme has enabled the assessment work to be initiated much more quickly than would be the case under conventional arrangements.

Social workers attached to the court are ready to support parents on the very first day of a hearing and the judge works with social workers, nurses trained in alcohol and drug abuse, and adult psychiatrists.

The programme includes an extract from an FDAC team meeting featuring the judge and two of the social workers as well as featuring an interview with a mother who with input from the FDAC team is working to overcome serious alcohol problems and whose children were removed from her care just before Christmas.  The mother's solicitor David Jockelson describes how, in his opinion, the mother would have had much less chance of succeeding in her application to get her children back had the case been decided by the normal procedure for child care cases.