New problem-solving drug and alcohol court to be piloted in Newry

A new problem-solving court aimed at tackling drug and alcohol problems is set to be piloted in Newry within the next few months.

The Family Drug and Alcohol Court (FDAC) will be trialled at Newry Family Proceedings Court by the Department of Justice and the Department of Health in cases where a child is at risk because of parental substance misuse.

It partners the court with Southern Health and Social Care Trust, and is modelled on a US programme brought to England and Wales in 2008.

An information note circulated to family law practitioners today states: “The FDAC will take a problem solving therapeutic approach to care proceedings. While traditional proceedings are adversarial and focus on the risk of harm to the child, the FDAC will use the authority of the court to provide a comprehensive response to the causes of risk to keep families together wherever possible consistent with the welfare of the child which will remain the paramount consideration.

“A coalition of services, the FDAC will bring together a diverse range of expertise and authority with the collective aim of improving outcomes for vulnerable children and families by helping parents address substance misuse and other problems.”