Family Drug and Alcohol Court (FDAC). What is it and what is expected of a parent?

Family Drug and Alcohol Court (FDAC). What is it and what is expected of a parent?

The Family Drug and Alcohol Court (FDAC) is a specialist court system designed to handle cases involving parents who struggle with substance abuse and are at risk of losing custody of their children. It operates in certain courts in the UK.

FDAC aims to provide intensive support and supervision to parents with substance misuse issues, helping them overcome their addiction and address the underlying problems that led to their substance abuse. The court works closely with various professionals, including social workers, substance abuse counselors, and other support services, to develop tailored treatment plans for parents and ensure the safety and well-being of their children.

FDAC differs from traditional family courts by offering a more therapeutic approach, focusing on rehabilitation rather than punishment. It also emphasizes early intervention and ongoing monitoring to help families stay together whenever possible. The ultimate goal of FDAC is to break the cycle of substance abuse and family breakdown, promoting stability and positive outcomes for both parents and children.

FDAC is completely voluntary and parents will have the choice as to whether they wish to engage in the FDAC process or the traditional care proceedings. A parent participating in the Family Drug and Alcohol Court (FDAC) program would typically be expected to:

Engage in Treatment: The parent would likely be required to engage in substance abuse treatment programs tailored to their needs. This could include attending therapy sessions, participating in support groups, and undergoing detoxification if necessary.

Comply with Court Orders: The parent would need to comply with any court orders issued by the FDAC judge, which may include attending regular court hearings, submitting to drug tests, and following specific instructions related to their case plan.

Participate in Assessments: The parent may undergo various assessments to evaluate their substance abuse, mental health, parenting abilities, and overall progress. These assessments help inform the development of their treatment plan and determine their suitability for reunification with their children.

Attend Parenting Programs: In addition to addressing substance abuse issues, the parent may be required to attend parenting programs or classes aimed at improving their parenting skills and promoting the safety and well-being of their children.

Maintain Contact with Children: The parent would be encouraged to maintain regular contact with their children, demonstrating their commitment to maintaining a positive relationship and meeting their children’s needs.

Work with Support Services: The parent would work closely with various support services, including social workers, substance abuse counselors, mental health professionals, and other service providers, to address their individual needs and overcome barriers to recovery.

Demonstrate Progress: Throughout their involvement in FDAC, the parent would be expected to demonstrate progress in addressing their substance abuse issues, complying with court orders, and actively participating in their treatment and case plan.

Non-Lawyer Reviews: The parent will have the opportunity to attend fortnightly Non-Lawyer Reviews. These are meetings between the parents and the FDAC Judge without any lawyers present. The parent will have the opportunity to talk to the Judge directly. This provides the Judge with a more accurate overview of the parent’s progress.

Overall, the expectations for parents in FDAC are aimed at supporting their recovery from substance abuse, promoting the safety and well-being of their children, and working towards family reunification whenever possible. Compliance with program requirements and active participation in treatment and support services are key factors in achieving positive outcomes within the FDAC framework.

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Shaoli has been a solicitor at NLS for over two years, transitioning from a background in criminal law to full-time family law. Her experience as a Criminal Duty Solicitor has equipped her with unique skills that are invaluable in her current role.
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