Family Drug and Alcohol Court – Parent Mentoring Pilot

A pilot implementation evaluation of the parent mentoring component of the Family Drug and Alcohol Courts (FDAC).


Pilot / In progress

Estimated completion

November 2022

Focus areas

Whole system, Professionals, Children & families

Evaluated by

University of Sussex

Key Figures

Local authorities 2

The pilot implementation evaluation of the parent mentoring component of Family Drug and Alcohol Courts (FDAC) is part of the Department for Education (DfE) funded Supporting Families: Investing in Practice programme.

Family Drug and Alchohol Court (FDAC) uses a problem solving approach to care proceedings, where a team of substance misuse specialists, domestic violence experts, psychiatrists and social workers, carry out an early assessment and agree an intervention plan with parents who come before the court in care proceedings. Once in proceedings, parents begin a “trial for change”, supported by the specialist team and with fortnightly non-lawyer review meetings with the judge, who reviews the progress being made as well as adjudicating in the case.

Parent mentoring is part of the evaluated core FDAC model, however, this is currently only being offered in a couple of FDAC sites in England, and is not being offered uniformly. While this is a manualised component of FDAC, there is a lack of evidence relating to parent mentoring.

The primary emphasis of this pilot will be on the implementation and process aspects of the programme, and it will aim to refine our understanding of the parent mentoring offer in the two sites. It will also look to establish feasibility, evidence of promise, readiness for trial and under what circumstances the intervention might be delivered across all FDAC sites.

The research questions aim to address:

  1. How parent mentoring has been implemented locally;
  2. How the FDAC stakeholders (including parents, mentors, team members and judges) understand and experience the role of a parent mentor;
  3. What the perceived impact of parent mentoring is;
  4. What sites need to establish, develop and sustain parent mentoring nationally.

Data will be collected from FDAC parents, parent mentors, practitioners, judges, parent mentor coordinators and site leaders, using interviews, focus groups, ethnographic observation, standardised measures and a feasibility survey. Descriptive analysis of administrative data will also be undertaken.

Set up work began in early 2020, and the pilot evaluation will begin in July 2020.