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How Does FDAC Succeed With Parents With Substance Misuse Problems? Exploring Relational Practices Within The English Family Drug And Alcohol Court

Harwin, Judith.; Broadhurst, Karen.; Ryan, Mary – 2018

Parental substance misuse is a significant risk factor for child maltreatment and is frequently involved in care proceedings. Outcomes are often poor and family reunification is prone to breakdown. In this article, the contribution of the English Family Drug and Alcohol Court (FDAC) is examined. Adapted from the US family drug treatment court model, FDAC offers a radically different approach to ordinary care proceedings by treating parents as well as adjudicating. The article draws on a mixed‐methods evaluation of FDAC which reports better recovery and reunification rates than ordinary court. It presents findings from interviews with 42 parents and 154 court observations of 89 cases, focusing on FDAC’s relational practices. The article concludes that these relational practices offer hope to substance‐misusing parents and that the approach merits wider attention because of its therapeutic potential and distinctive approach to justice.