The Family Drug and Alcohol Court service shortlisted for the Guardian Public Services Award
Friday, October 21, 2011
The Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation Trust and Coram are pleased to announce that the Family Drug and Alcohol Court has been shortlisted for the Guardian Public Services Award 2011.
The Family Drug and Alcohol Court (FDAC), commissioned by Camden, Islington and Westminster councils, is a service provided in collaboration between The Tavistock & Portman NHS Foundation Trust and the UK children’s charity Coram.
Drawing on work from the US, the FDAC provides support to families trying to break the cycle of substance addiction. The court uses specialist judges who encourage and motivate parents as they progress through the programme and a specialist team to work intensively with the families.
Nick Crichton, District Judge, said: “Working in FDAC is both exhausting and exhilarating. Seeing parents take advantage of the very specialist help which is offered, and really get to grips with serious drug and alcohol issues is immensely rewarding. Of course some parents struggle. We are seeking better outcomes for children. We are getting more children home than in normal care proceedings and of those children who cannot go home, we are getting them into alternative placements more quickly. I firmly believe that this kind of problem-solving approach offers a better way of addressing these very difficult issues and the preliminary research bears it out”
The idea for the court came after research showed that two-thirds of all care proceedings initiated by Camden, Islington and Westminster are because of parental substance misuse.
Sophie Kershaw, Service Manager, commented “Evidence shows that parents who have been through the FDAC system are more likely to stop their substance misuse than those in ordinary care proceedings, meaning fewer children are taken into care. The integrated approach means that families can be better supported and also has potential to reduce costs”
The FDAC has been shortlisted under the Service Delivery Award. The judges have selected six challenging areas of public services to be considered and FDAC was nominated within the Children and Young People category. This category showcases the work of teams that have integrated their services to deliver improved outcomes for children and young people.
The Family Drug and Alcohol Court team has expertise across a wide range of disciplines. There are drug and alcohol treatment specialists, psychiatrists, nurses and social workers. The team provide a holistic approach, addressing the full range of parents' problems including addiction, parenting, debt, housing, relationships, mental health and domestic violence.
In addition to this, volunteer parent mentors are recruited and used where suitable. These mentors have been through drug and/or substance misuse themselves and have had their children taken into care.
A mother who used the service said “FDAC has helped me be the sort of person I want to be. Ithelped me remainfocused and motivated and instilled in me a real sense of achievement andconfidence.”
Renuka Jeyarajah-Dent, Director of Operations at Coram, said: “We are delighted FDAC is in the running for this accolade as it recognises just what can be achieved for vulnerable children and their families through swift partnership risk assessment, intervention and effective decision making.”