Q&A – What is FDAC?
At Family Law in Partnership we recognise the importance of supporting separating families and we remain proud in supporting FDAC – the problem solving court, through our financial contribution. FLiP Director Helen Greenfield provides some answers to commonly asked questions surrounding FDAC.
- What is FDAC?
An alternative family court for care proceedings. It is specially designed to work with parents who struggle with drug and alcohol misuse. However, parents coming into FDAC will often have other difficulties as well, including mental health problems and experiences of domestic abuse. It is more problem solving and parents get to speak directly to the Judge who reviews the case fortnightly. Professionals from other areas such as substance misuse, domestic abuse and mental health also work closely with the family during the court process.
- How is FDAC different from a local Family Court?
The problem solving nature of the Family Drug & Alcohol Court sets it apart; it is more about trying to solve the problems that have led the local authority to bring the parent to court. It therefore gets much better results than when parents go to court in normal care proceedings. More children are able to stay with their parents following FDAC proceedings and the changes made are more likely to be long term.
- In what circumstances would my case be referred to a FDAC? Do I have a choice?
The local authorities select the cases they feel would be best suited for FDAC. They might choose the case because parent drug and alcohol use is one of their main worries or because the parents are showing real signs they want to make changes to their lives. However it is ultimately a choice for you as to you whether you commit to FDAC. You can instead elect for your case to go into normal care proceedings.
- Why am I proud to support FDAC?
FDAC has made a real difference to numerous real families who are now able to remain together rather than the children being forced into care; the reasons for the issues are looked at and worked on rather than just the results of these issues being dealt with. It is a process which works with the people involved on a human level and creates positive outcomes where often there is only negativity. It shows that, dealt with properly, issues such as substance abuse or alcoholism do not have to mean the end of intact families. I really believe FDAC is a model that should be replicated across many other areas of the justice system.
- How does FDAC link with my day to day work as a busy family lawyer?
This line of work introduces you to all kinds of issues arising in all kinds of families. It can sometimes be frustrating when these issues are dealt with in a binary fashion and no room is left for alternative solutions, solutions that work for a better future for people who find themselves in such difficult situations, sometimes through no fault of their own. It is really important to continue to support such initiatives to ensure such solutions continue to be built on and more families can remain together, always keeping the best interests of the children involved at the forefront.