What we did:
Family Drug and Alcohol Courts (FDACs) aim to stop parental substance misuse and keep families together where it is safe to do so, through a court process where trained judges and a specialist multi-disciplinary FDAC team collaborate to give parents a ‘trial for change.’ While previous research has suggested FDAC provides value for money to the taxpayer, the up-front cost of an FDAC team has been seen by some local authorities as “an investment too far” and this initial cost has impeded its roll-out. This project aimed to provide an up to date assessment of the costs and monetary benefits associated with the FDAC approach, and to estimate the funding that would be needed to promote wider adoption across England and Wales.
How we did it:
Drawing together current unit cost data from multiple FDAC sites and updated cost data on standard care proceedings, Apteligen undertook, in partnership with the Centre for Justice Innovation, a new value for money assessment of the FDAC model, based on the findings from previous evaluations and research. Alongside this, we worked with experts in the field to update key assumptions, and to model a number of different scenarios in relation to the roll-out of FDACs to every local authority area in England and Wales.
What the project achieved:
Our analysis showed that the cost of an FDAC team is more than recovered by local authorities in the cashable savings generated during care proceedings, primarily in relation to reduced legal costs and the costs associated with placing children in care. We also projected that an investment of £65m would be needed over three years to support the national roll-out of FDACs, and that this would generate net cumulative savings of £91m over the same period.