Family Drug and Alcohol Court (FDAC) - Evaluation Research Study

The Nuffield Foundation funded Brunel University to carry out a two stage independent evaluation of FDAC (2008-2013), a new approach to care proceedings where parental substance misuse is a key element in the local authority decision to bring proceedings.

What is FDAC?

FDAC provides a problem-solving, therapeutic approach. It aims improve outcomes for children by helping parents change the lifestyle that has put their children at risk of harm. It seeks to improve parental substance abuse cessation rates, achieve safer and more sustainable family reunification, and ensure swifter placement with permanent alternative carers when reunification is not possible.

The FDAC pilot ran from January 2008 to March 2012 at the Inner London Family Proceedings Court in Wells Street. Originally funded by government departments and three local authorities Camden, Islington and Westminster), it now runs as a consortium of five local authorities and the model is beginning to be adopted by courts and local authorities outside London.

How was the evaluation conducted?

The evaluation was conducted in two stages between 2008 and 2013. The main findings are based on 90 families (122 children) who were referred to, and received, the FDAC programme, and the 101 families (151 children) who formed the comparison sample. In both samples parental substance misuse was a key factor in initiating the care proceedings. There was also a qualitative element to the evaluation, including interviews with parents and professionals and observations of court hearings.

The aims

  1. to describe the FDAC pilot and identify set-up and implementation lessons.
  2. to make comparisons with standard court proceedings involving parental substance misuse, including a comparison of costs.
  3. to compare the sustainability of family reunification.
  4. to indicate whether this different approach might lead to better outcomes for children and parents.

The FDAC Evaluation Team

Professor Judith Harwin - principal investigator
Dr Bachar Alrouh - data management, research fellow from 2011
Mary Ryan and Jo Tunnard (RyanTunnardBrown) - consultant research fellows, qualitative data, analysis, and final reports

Stage 1

Dr Carla Matias (research fellow, June 2008 to August 2010)
Dr Sharon Momenian-Schneider (part-time research fellow, January to June 2008)
Dr Subhash Pokhrel (economist/costs study, January 2008 to May 2011)

Stage 2

Dr Christy Barry (team administrator, June 2011 to January 2013)
Sheila Harvey (part-time data collection, April to September 2012)
Mark Kalinauckas (part-time data collection, December 2011 to November 2013)
Dr Gemma Lewis (research fellow, January 2012 to April 2013)

Reports

New Reports

 FDAC May 2014 Highlights and Executive Summary 

FDAC May 2014 Full Report 

Stage 1 Reports

Stage 1 Final Report May 2011
Stage 1 Executive Summary
Stage 1 Nuffield Highlights

Feasibility Study

Original Feasibility Study


Page last updated: Friday 02 May 2014