Born into Care: Towards best practice principles when the State intervenes at birth
September 2019 - August 2022
The Nuffield Foundation
This research project will devise and test evidence informed best practice principles designed to inform practice when the State intervenes to protect infants at birth, through care proceedings. There are increasing national and international concerns about the volume of new-borns in care proceedings and safe, effective and ethical practice (Born into Care: England and Born into Care: Wales).
The project will take a participatory approach and bring together parents and wider family members as well as policy and practice stakeholders, to ensure the development of the new principles follows an inclusive process. The new best practice principles need to be closely attuned to the realities of everyday practice as well as child and family needs and experience. The project is being carried out as the first public law Special Interest Project for the Nuffield Family Justice Observatory (FJO) (https://www.nuffieldfjo.org.uk).
It will be delivered by researchers based at the Centre for Child and Family Justice Research at Lancaster University and the Rees Centre Oxford University led by Professor Karen Broadhurst and Claire Mason, in collaboration with international partners Dr Sarah Wise (University of Melbourne) and Dr Melissa O’Donnell (University of Western Australia). The project has appointed a multi-stakeholder advisory board and a dedicated birth mother advisory group to support this project. Peter Salem (AFCC) and Professor Jane Barlow (University of Oxford) are acting as expert scientific advisors to this project.
A detailed project information sheet is available here.
The 4 stages of the project
The diagram below depicts the 4 stages of the project which will run between 1st of September 2019 and the 31st of August 2022.
Mason, C., Robertson, L. and Broadhurst, K. (2019) Pre-birth assessment and infant removal at birth: experiences and challenges, Nuffield Family Justice Observatory, London. (link)
Mason, C., Robertson, L. and Broadhurst, K. (2019) Pre-birth assessment and infant removal at birth: experiences and challenges, Executive Summary, Nuffield Family Justice Observatory, London. (link)
Ryan, M. with Cook, R. (2019) Born into Care: Case Law Review, Nuffield Family Justice Observatory, London.
Professor Karen Broadhurst, Principal Investigator, Lancaster University
Claire Mason, Co-Investigator/Research Fellow, Lancaster University
Dr Anna Barnett, Project Officer, Lancaster University
Dr Lisa Holmes, Research Fellow, Rees Centre, Oxford University
Professor Harriet Ward, Consultant, Rees Centre, Oxford University
Dr Sarah Wise, Research Fellow, University of Melbourne
Dr Melissa O’Donnell, Research Fellow, University of Western Australia
Sally Jenkins (Chair), Head Of Children and Families Services, Newport City Council
Rebecca Brione, Research and Partnerships Officer, Birthrights
Angela Frazer Wicks, Co-Chair, Your Family Your Voice
Cathy Ashley, Chief Exec, Family Rights Group
Laura Bridle, Perinatal mental health midwife, Guy's and St Thomas' NHS Foundation Trust (Royal College of Midwifery rep)
Deborah Woodcock, Director of Operations and Principal Social Worker, Stockport Council
Julie Evans, Senior Midwife, Cwm Taf Morgannwg University Health Board, Early Years Vulnerability Profiling Officer (seconded Rhondda Cynon Taf County Borough Council)
Sir Michael Keehan, QC, High Court Judge
Lisa Harker, Director, Nuffield Family Justice Observatory
Pam Ledward, Family Rights Group
HHJ Mererid Edwards, Welsh Circuit Judge
Melissa Van Dyke, International Advisor on Implementation, Centre for Excellence for Children's Care and Protection, Strathclyde University
Naomi Delap, Director, Birth Companions
Helen Harding, Head of Service Early Help, London Borough of Havering (ADCS rep)
Nigel Brown, Chief Executive, Cafcass Cymru
Melanie Carew, Head of Legal, Cafcass
Trudi Seneviratne, Consultant Adult and Perinatal Psychiatrist
Wendy Marsh, Deputy Director of Midwifery, Portsmouth Hospitals Trust
Project Update August 2021
The project team have now completed data collection and analysis in all 8 sites.
Working collaboratively with representatives from their partner sites and policy and national practice leads through a series of online workshops, the team have developed a set of draft best practice principles and outlined the application of these principles from pre-birth assessment through to post discharge support.
The power-point slides give an overview of these draft principles and their application.
The findings and draft principles will be published in a full report in autumn 2021 .
Local implementation work is scheduled with each of the pilot sites in October 2021.
For further details about the project or discussions regarding commissioning support from the team in non-pilot sites please contact Claire Mason email@example.com