Drug and alcohol addiction blight millions of individuals, and cause a cycle of pain and misery as they draw in family and friends of those affected.
Addiction often causes children to be wrenched from homes, with parental substance abuse a factor in almost two-thirds of families in care proceedings.
Removing children from their families is devastating for all concerned, and often has the counterproductive effect of failing to encourage parents to receive treatment.
Today the government signalled its intent to support these families.
It backed our plan for the roll out of the Family Drug and Alcohol Courts (FDAC), which help parents pull their lives together before their children are taken away
The FDAC assists families where substance misuse means care proceedings are underway. Families are taken through a process specifically designed for tackling drug and alcohol problems and supported by a team of specialists in substance misuse.
The court monitors the family’s progress regularly and parents come before the same judge throughout the process. Children are often placed in foster care or with families while their parents complete the necessary drug or alcohol treatment.
Investment in the courts has so far been slow, despite them having a success rate in reuniting parents with their children, helping them stop substance misuse, and saving the public purse thousands of pounds a year.
The Department for Education has now given the green light to expansion of the courts within England which will mean approximately a quarter of English family courts have an FDAC.
This is an important step towards our recommendation for an FDAC in every family court.
It will give addicts with families the option to help themselves before it is too late