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The Family Drug and Alcohol Court (FDAC) evaluation project: Final report (executive summary)

Harwin, J., Ryan, M. Tunnard, J., et al. – 2011

An evaluation of the first Family Drug and Alcohol Court (FDAC) in England and Wales. Discusses the negative impact of parental substance abuse on children and the importance of court-based family interventions to improve outcomes for children and families. Describes characteristics of FDAC and presents findings from the study. Compared to traditional courts, FDAC parents had better and faster access to treatment services. More parents ceased using substances and more children remained at home in FDAC cases. Cost savings of FDAC were found in the areas of court hearings and out-of-home placements, with FDAC children spending less time in foster care. Summarizes positive parent comments about the FDAC experience. Concludes that FDAC is a promising approach to the problem of parental substance abuse but notes challenges such as capacity and delays, parent mentoring, interagency coordination, and financial constraints. Future goals include earlier identification of cases, prenatal intervention, and aftercare services.