England will be getting new drug courts to help people suffering from addiction. East Sussex, Kent and Medway, Plymouth, Torbay and Exeter and West Yorkshire will all be getting new drug courts to help tackle addiction in families.
These new courts are unlike the usual family courts. They all have teams of experts including doctors to ensure that parents are dealing with their addictions while children are kept safe. The new courts come into play when a parent is found to have a drinking that is interfereing with their childrens wellbeing. The court can send the child to stay with family or in foster care while ensuring that the parent with an addiction is getting treatment.
To ensure the parent is working towards recovery, the court can have them report every 14 days to see the same judge and undergo tests to ensure they are clean.
So far the drug court in London has been very successful. In one evaluation it was found to increase addiction recovery rates from 19% to 35%. The drug courts are so effective because they do more than just hand down judgement. They are able to safely protect children while finding their addicted parents placements in addiction treatment programs.
This means parents are not just left to fend for themselves, they are given help and the tools they need to get their children back.
So far the drug court in London has helped hundreds of families and with more drug courts set to open, the service could expand across the country.
The court's founder, District Judge Nicholas Crichton, told Radio 4's Today programme: "In the FDAC, we have seen some parents demonstrate a remarkable capacity to change in response to our more constructive, empathetic approach. These people have got their lives in a terrible mess, but they love their children... many of them dearly want to provide good enough care for their children."
A £2.5 million grant from the Department of Education is providing for the expanding number of drug courts.