Substance Misuse and Child Welfare Special Interest Group Seminar

Tackling child maltreatment and parental substance misuse: How can the English Family Drug and Alcohol Court contribute to a fresh approach in Northern Ireland?

Guest Speaker: Judith Harwin – Professor in Socio-Legal Studies, School of Law, Lancaster University

Monday 20th March 2017, 2.30 – 4.30pm

Bell Lecture Theatre, Physics Building, Queen’s University Belfast

This seminar is free of charge but places must be booked in advance by registering at this link

In 2016 Lord Justice Gillen’s Preliminary Review of Civil and Family Justice Report recommended that urgent consideration should be given to setting up a new pilot Family Drug and Alcohol Court in Northern Ireland, based on the English model. This seminar will outline the key features of FDAC, a problem-solving approach to care proceedings when parental substance misuse is a main trigger. It will consider why FDAC was set up in England, draw together the key research findings and explore possible explanations for the results. The seminar will finish by considering the wider lessons from the English FDAC and how they can help inform the development of this fresh approach in Northern Ireland.

Judith Harwin is Professor in Socio-Legal Studies at Lancaster University and co-directs its Centre for Child and Family Justice Research. Her research interests and publications focus on vulnerable children and families, evaluation of policy and practice. She has a particular interest in outcomes for children in public care, parental substance misuse and the interface between law, policy and practice.  

She has been leading the evaluations of the Family Drug and Alcohol Court (FDAC) since it was set up in 2008 She is also a member of the FDAC National Unit where her main contribution has been to researching the longer term outcomes of FDAC. She is currently carrying out the first national study of the contribution of supervision orders to family justice She is a member of the Lancaster team funded by the Nuffield Foundation to explore the feasibility of, and inform the design of a new family justice observatory 

She is a visiting professor at the London School of Economics in the Department of Social Policy and in 2015 was a member of the Department for Education’s Review of Special Guardianship.