Family Drug and Alcohol Court (FDAC)

The Family Drug and Alcohol Court (FDAC) can help families involved in care proceedings when there is parental substance misuse.

The court will provide parents with support to deal with the problems that led to the application for their child to be taken into care. 

Experts attached to the court work with parents to help them overcome their problems while the court case is being decided. They will develop a support and treatment programme designed to meet the different needs of each family and will appoint a key worker in the team to work directly with parents and arrange the services in their treatment plan.

The plan will see what is possible for each family to achieve and could remove a child from their parents’ care. The process is designed to help parents change their behaviour so they can safely care for their children.

The judge overseeing the case will hold regular meetings with parents to check how they are progressing and to provide advice and encourage change.




Family silhouette - parents and two young children


A new research project, supported by the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan), will investigate whether Family Drug and Alcohol Courts (FDACs) – specialist courts within care proceedings – have an impact on parental offending.

The study, led by Professor Judith Harwin, from Lancaster University Law School, working in partnership with UCLan and the Centre for Justice Innovation, will fill an important gap in the evidence.

The project has been awarded a grant worth a quarter of a million pounds from the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) to investigate whether the FDAC approach is associated with changes in maternal and paternal offending and reoffending.

Care proceedings, which are triggered when there is risk or actual harm to a child, have increased significantly in recent years. Proceedings typically involve parental substance misuse, domestic abuse, and mental health difficulties and frequently result in children being placed with alternative permanent families or in foster care.

Family Drug and Alcohol Courts (FDACs) are based on the view that courts must address parents’ underlying problems as well as adjudicating.

Previous research has found that, by treating the parental problems that led to the care proceedings during the court case, family reunification rates are higher than in ordinary care proceedings and there are also financial savings.

The Department for Education has invested over the last decade in the expansion of FDACs and the President of the Family Division and Head of Family Justice, Sir Andrew McFarlane, wants to see an FDAC in every area.

The Ministry of Justice is also interested in problem-solving courts and has recently set up pilots for women offenders, domestic abuse perpetrators and substance misusers.

“But an important gap in evidence is the impact of FDACs on offending behaviour,” says Professor Harwin, “and this is the inspiration for the project.”

The 24-month study will investigate whether, compared to parents who go through ordinary care proceedings, FDAC support is associated with a reduction in the likelihood of offending and re-offending, its frequency, type, seriousness, and resulting penalties imposed by the Criminal Justice System.

The study is really important. Breaking the link between care and crime is a top priority.

— Professor Judith Harwin, Lancaster University Law School

Mediating influences such as gender, previous history of offending, previous history of care proceedings, and stability of family reunification during and after FDAC support will also be explored.

This project is an analysis of approximately 1700 individual parental records in England from three administrative data sources, FDAC, Cafcass (Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Service) and the PNC (Police National Computer records), which will be used to create a new dataset.

It aims to address a significant social and economic problem in providing a greater understanding of parents with involvement in FDAC, ordinary care proceedings, and in the criminal justice system, focusing on their needs and how to meet them.

Role of Private Investigators in Child Custody Cases

During a child custody investigation, it is important for the parent hiring the private investigator to understand the different types of child custody. Legal custody refers to the right to make legal decisions on behalf of the child. Physical custody refers to the parent with whom the child will live. Either type of custody may be sole or joint custody. Sole custody means that one parent has the primary role in the child’s life. Joint means that the parents share the responsibility of the type of custody that is at stake.

Different Roles

A private investigator often plays many different roles in a child custody investigation, including the following:

Interview Witnesses

A private investigator may interview witnesses who may be involved in the child’s life, including neighbors, teachers, counselors, parents of friends and other individuals.

Asset Search

Another important role that a private investigator has is to find assets that may be hidden. If the private investigator can find evidence of this nature, the client can argue that the other parent is attempting to shirk his or her financial obligations to the child.

Gather Evidence

Before a private investigator begins work on the project, he or she generally meets with the client to determine what type of information may be relevant to the case. For example, a parent may know that the other parent hires a babysitter during his or her scheduled time with the child. The person may want evidence that the other party has a romantic partner living with him or her and present during times with the children. Additionally, a private investigator may gather evidence of the parent’s drug or alcohol use when he or she is responsible for the children. In some situations, a private investigator may be able to show that the parent is neglecting or abusing the children.

In other situations, the parent may be concerned about what the other parent is doing during scheduled visits. He or she may be allowing the children to be up late at night and the child’s grades may suffer as a consequence.

A private investigator may take high quality pictures or video of the other parent. These pictures and videos are often taken in public places to avoid any privacy violation claims. Such locations may be in the front yard, park, grocery store or other locations where there is no expectation of privacy.

How Does a Family Court Determine If a Parent Is Unfit?

  • A history of child abuse.
  • A history of substance abuse.
  • A history of domestic violence.
  • The parent’s ability to make age-appropriate decisions for a child.
  • The parent’s ability to communicate with a child.
  • Psychiatric concerns.
  • The parent’s living conditions.
  • A history of domestic abuse; either physical or emotional.
  • A history of mental illness that could incapacitate the parent to care for the children adequately.
  • Unreasonable behaviour during the divorce process
  • Their ability to discipline children fairly
  • The quality of their house or neighbourhood where they live in a home that is unsafe for children to reside in
  • A history of criminal offences and/or imprisonment
  • A strongly negative attitude of the children towards the parent, or unwillingness to live with that parent

Parents with alcohol and drug problems

This planning and operational guidance is for directors of public health and commissioners and providers of adult alcohol and drug treatment and children and family services. The guidance outlines the main issues for families affected by parental alcohol and drug problems and shows how services can work together to support them.

In this guidance, ‘parents with problem alcohol and drug use’ refers to parents or carers of children whose alcohol or drug use causes, or has the potential to cause, harm to children. Dependent and non-dependent problematic use are both included in this definition.

Not all children of parents who use alcohol or drugs problematically will experience significant harm, but children growing up in these families are at a greater risk of adverse outcomes.

Research shows that problem alcohol and drug use can reduce parenting capacity and is a major factor in cases of child maltreatment. In 2019 to 2020, Department for Education (DfE) statistics on the characteristics of children in need found that parents using drugs was a factor in around 17% of child in need cases, and parental alcohol use was a factor in 16%.

DfE analysed serious case reviews between 2011 and 2014 also found that parental alcohol or drug use was recorded in over a third (36%) of serious case reviews carried out when a child has died or been seriously harmed.

The harms children experience can cause problems in the short term and later in life. Evidence shows that this includes intergenerational patterns of:

  • substance misuse
  • unemployment
  • offending behaviour
  • domestic abuse
  • child abuse and neglect

These problems can then cause further harm, as well as increasing the financial cost to the different agencies who work to support the people who experience harm.

Published 10 May 2021

Genetic Predisposition to Schizophrenia May Increase Risk of Psychosis From Cannabis Use – Neuroscience News

It has been long been known that cannabis users develop psychosis more often than non-users, but what is still not fully clear is whether cannabis actually causes psychosis and, if so, who is most at risk.

A new study published in Translational Psychiatry by researchers at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) and King’s College London helps shed light on both questions.

The research shows that while cannabis users had higher rates of psychotic experiences than non-users across the board, the difference was especially pronounced among those with high genetic predisposition to schizophrenia.

DMX – a life full of abuse and addiction

It’s easy to dismiss celebrity therapy shows for sensationalizing the trauma, mental health, or various addictions of the celebrities that agree to appear on them. After all, many of them consist solely of people made famous for appearing on… other reality shows. DMX and Tashera appeared on the first season of Couples Therapy alongside people like Linda Hogan, ex-wife of Hulk Hogan (who was on the show with her 30-years-younger boyfriend at the time), The Bachelor contestant Vienna Girardi, and Jersey Shore‘s Angelina Pivarnick. Why would a successful rapper deign to appear on a show like this with people who were not his peers but who were made famous by the reality TV machine?

Parental substance misuse

Parental substance misuse

‘Parental substance misuse’ is the long-term misuse of drugs and/or alcohol by a parent or carer.

This includes parents and carers who:

  • consume harmful amounts of alcohol (for example if their drinking is leading to alcohol-related health problems or accidents)
  • are dependent on alcohol
  • use drugs regularly and excessively
  • are dependent on drugs.

It also includes parents who aren’t able to supervise their children appropriately because of their substance use (NSPCC, 2018).

Most parents and carers who drink alcohol or use drugs do so in moderation, which doesn’t present an increased risk of harm to their children (Cleaver, Unell and Aldgate, 2011).

However, parents and carers who misuse substances can have chaotic, unpredictable lifestyles and may struggle to recognise and meet their children’s needs. This may result in their children being at risk of harm.

Seeing the Invisible

Attachment experiences between caregiver and child are powerful sculptors of personality,
and become key determinants in how an individual relates to self, other and emotions over
a lifetime. When a child’s early attachment relationships are characterized by recurrent
“errors of omission” – neglect, deprivation, misattunement, and lack of affection,
recognition and/or affirmation — that child can develop areas of psychic darkness or
invisibility, in which parts of the self that are not seen and mirrored become dissociated.

Such children, and later adults, may struggle with chronic and profound feelings of
emptiness, detachment, unbearable aloneness, identity diffusion and avoidant attachment
patterns. Because such attachment wounds are, by their very nature, absences, they can
easily go undetected, leaving individuals who have lived through them with incomplete life
narratives. Such “invisible” traumas are hard to heal because they are hard to see, and
left unrecognized, can become self-perpetuating, both relationally and intra-relationally. In
this paper, we will explore the case of a woman who grew up in a family rife with errors of
omission. In addition to struggling with an avoidant attachment style, she also lived
through cycles of re-enactment — both with others and within herself — in which her
emotional needs went unrecognized and unmet. Relational and intra-relational
interventions aimed at forging new attachment bonds between 1. therapist and client, and

  • the client and an “invisible” part of her are illustrated. Recognition plays an essential
    role in creating these bonds and sparking deep emotional processing of grief.
    “What is essential is invisible to the eye.”
  • (The Little Prince, Saint-Exupery)
    “The existential need for recognition and the functional need for effective action on behalf
    of the self are powerful motives; they are both manifestations of transformance.”

Grace vs. Abuse

You (yes, you) need to read this…even if you’re not in an abusive situation.

You need to know where the line is between giving grace and accepting abuse, so you can help a friend or family member recognize it.

For millions of Americans, accepting abuse is an everyday occurrence. Statistics reveal around 10 million people suffer from physical abuse every year, which averages out to 20 people per minute. More than 1 in 3 women (35.6%) and more than 1 in 4 men (28.5%) in the United States have experienced rape, physical violence and/or stalking by an intimate partner in their lifetime.

Abuse comes in many forms, including emotional/psychological, physical, financial, digital and sexual. Abusive patterns can lead to fear, anxiety and depression, and may escalate into stalking, harassment, or lethal violence.

The staggering statistics lead to an undeniable truth. Many people choose to stay in abusive relationships.


Perhaps the answer lies in a very subtle distinction that people often use to rationalize staying with an abusive partner: they want to extend grace, forgiveness and sympathy to the person they love.

But there’s more to a tough relationship than this. Empower yourself to find the best possible outcome for your life by knowing when to say “no” to your partner’s personality.

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