Merging Family and Drug Courts


A specialized court in London, dedicated to handling cases involving parents who abuse drugs and alcohol, keep families together while reducing defendant drug use, according to a study by the non-profit Center for Justice Innovation.

Specially trained judges at the Family Drug and Alcohol Court (FDAC) lead multi-disciplinary teams who offer personalized care and treatment to families, according to the report.

FDAC supports about 50 families per year. An evaluation of the court, which was founded in 2008, found that “families going through FDAC are more likely to stay together, that parents are more likely to reduced their drug use, and that the children going through FDAC are less likely to experience further neglect and abuse than similar families passing through mainstream family courts.”

The study calls for policymakers to develop models for bringing similar programs to other regions.

It identifies six key lessons for future court innovators:

• Target a clearly defined and well-evidenced problem, relevant to policymakers and local commissioners
• Bring together a coalition with a diverse range, expertise and authority
• Draw on evidence to identify promising models
• Develop a locally tailored solution
• Build evaluation into the project from the staart
• Make new use of existing resources
• Identify immediate cost savings

Read the full report HERE.

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