New family court offers hope

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An innovative approach to justice to help keep families together launched this week in East Sussex in a one-year trial. The Family Drug and Alcohol Court sees parents who are subject to care proceedings offered a specially tailored package of intervention including fast access to substance abuse, mental health and domestic-abuse services and assistance with issues such as housing and financial hardship. The scheme, first launched in London seven years ago, has helped to increase the proportion of parents who are able to continue caring for their children. A study by Brunel University found that 35 per cent of mothers who went before this court in London stopped misusing drugs or alcohol and were reunited with their children, compared with 19 per cent of mothers going through the traditional family court process. [Source: East Sussex County Council]