In EDINBURGH last week, Judge Nicholas Crichton inspired as he outlined the setting up of the Family Drug and Alcohol Court in London (“US-style court to offer help to Scots addict parents”, 9 February).
Lawyers, social workers and children’s charity leaders talked about the strengths and weaknesses of Scottish initiatives for improving how and when children should be removed from their parents because of the risks of neglect or abuse. “More joined-up thinking” was one comment – such as including housing agencies in the loop when trying to support addicts to break their habit. Another participant called for party political lines to be replaced by a government of national unity on this issue.
What began as a questioning initiative by Trimega – why do Scottish courts rarely use hair tests for evidence to aid these difficult decisions? – quickly broadened out to a far more wide- ranging debate on improving support for children at risk from parental drug and alcohol misuse. We will publish a summary of the discussion shortly and, hopefully, contribute to reaching this aim sooner rather than later.