Born into care: Newborns in care proceedings in England

Year: 2018
Topic: Adoption, Child protection, Foster care, Permanence
Author: Nuffield Family Justice Observatory for England and Wales

Infants subject to care proceedings as newborns are the focus of this report. For the purposes of this report, a newborn is defined as an infant aged less than seven days old. An infant is defined as a child aged less than one year old.

The study, from the Nuffield Family Justice Observatory for England and Wales, used population-level data (2007/08 to 2016/17) held by the Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Service (Cafcass) to provide the first estimate of the proportion of care proceedings for infants in England that are issued for newborns.

New evidence is also presented about the frequency of newborn cases, case characteristics and legal order outcomes. Changes in the frequency and pattern of legal orders over time and regional differences are reported.

Although frontline practitioners will be familiar with cases of infants subject to care proceedings, there are no published studies which specifically focus on newborns in the family justice system in England, based on population-level data.