First PCC in the country to fund Family, Drug and Alcohol Courts
Bedfordshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner, Kathryn Holloway, has become the first PCC in the country to fund Family, Drug and Alcohol Courts (FDACs).
Family Drug and Alcohol Courts require a parent with addiction to agree a formal rehabilitation plan and work regularly with the Family Court Judge and a team of specialists over a 26 week period, to address their behaviour and build better relationships with both their children and themselves.
Commissioner Holloway has agreed to provide £50,000 of funding and to pay for a specialist domestic abuse expert to support parents attending the FDAC. She has also provided the lead Judge, Judge Patrick Peruško, with the services of her chief of staff to help other key partners across Bedfordshire.
PCC Holloway said:
“Judge Peruško can produce evidence that this process works to lift parents out of addiction and helps them to re-build family life, keeping children in the home where it is safe to do so, as not one but two universities – Lancaster and Brunel – have evaluated the programme and the results speak for themselves.
“It was clear from the findings that parents felt they were being treated as individuals and being supported more than judged and that they built really strong relationships with the judges overseeing the programme and the specialists to whom they have access as a result of going into FDAC.”
The grant funding from the Commissioner is the single biggest financial contribution to the FDAC project in Bedfordshire. There will be two Family Drug and Alcohol courts in Bedfordshire; one in Bedford, overseen by Judge Peruško, with Judge Spinks running the court in Luton.
The Bedfordshire Family Drug and Alcohol Court was launched at Bedford Magistrates’ Court on 17 October 2019. A similar launch event is to take place in Luton later this month. The first hearings are due to start in November.
There are 11 FDACs across the country. The project in Bedfordshire is the first to be established in conjunction with other agencies outside of local authority children’s social services.