Welcome to another week.
As the ultra successful Family Drug And Alcohol Court (FDAC) looks set to close, Nick Crichton, the judge who pioneered the programme in the UK is calling on the government to keep the scheme alive.
The unit, which is the only family court to date that offers a personal, and proven programme for helping keep families suffering from substance abuse together, has been systematically rejected by local authorities around the country, who claim not to be able to see its value.
FDAC also prevents mothers dealing with addiction from losing their children, and entering an often unbreakable cycle of care proceedings, fostering or adoption plans, and a move to get pregnant again to cope with the loss once the child is taken, which in turn leads to more care proceedings and child removal orders.
The units are also saving the government a lot of money. Research suggests that FDAC saves the government £17,000 per adoption and fostering case. In 2017, there were over 72,000 children in state care. The number of children adopted in 2017, was 4,350. The number of children paced in foster homes in that same year was 53,420.
Conservatively, FDAC could be saving the government over 900 million pounds a year. At full throttle, the savings could reach well over a billion.
There has been the suggestion that local authorities are refusing to implement the units because they don’t see what they get out of the programme. The argument is that FDAC employees and teams reap all the benefits of the scheme and the host council, benefits little. Others, like Researching Reform, take the view that local authorities, whose main streams of revenue include fostering and adoptions, see FDAC as a threat to their income.
Our question this week then, is just this: what do you think should be done?