New report: supporting families after care proceedings
31st March 2022
A new report, "Supporting Families following care proceedings", by Professor Judith Harwin and Lily Golding has been published by the Department for Education today. It calls for major changes to supporting families to stay together after care proceedings, including revamping the supervision order and creation of a supervision order support fund.
Parents reunited with their children via a court order following care proceedings reveal a lack of ‘humanity’ in the court process with a perception they were ‘just a cog in the machine, a case rather than a person’, ‘downtrodden’ and ‘belittled’. However, parents interviewed felt the court had a major role in facilitating family reunification but called for significant changes in the court experience and a radical shake-up of the court orders intended to keep families together.
Parents felt that they had not received enough help before care proceedings for the domestic abuse, mental health difficulties and substance misuse that typically triggered the care proceedings. They also felt that a lack of understanding of these parental problems in court made it very hard to present their case well and give them a realistic chance for their child to come home.
The report was funded by the Department for Education to inform the first review of supervision orders since the introduction of the 1989 Children Act. The review is being carried out by a sub-group of the Public Law Working Group (PLWG), co-chaired by High Court Judge, Mr Justice Michael Keehan and Professor Harwin.
The research Supporting families after care proceedings: supervision orders and beyond charts the experiences and views of parents whose children were made subject to a supervision order or a care order at home at the end of care proceedings. Both orders are ways of keeping families together when it is safe. The study also covers parents’ experiences of pre-proceedings and care proceedings as they helped shape the final court order.
The full report is available here.
The story is also covered in Community Care.
For further details, contact Professor Judith Harwin (firstname.lastname@example.org).