A team of researchers have become the first to produce a snapshot of the extent to which newborn babies and infants are subject to care proceedings in Wales using data sourced by ADR Wales.
Titled ‘Born into care: newborns and infants in care proceedings in Wales‘, the study has been completed by the Nuffield Family Justice Observatory’s data partnership team – including researchers from the Centre for Child and Family Justice Research at Lancaster University, Population Data Science at Swansea University Medical School and the SAIL Databank.
The study used population-level data collected by the Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Service Wales (Cafcass Cymru) to provide the first national estimate of newborns and infants in care proceedings in the family justice system in Wales, and insights into the changing pattern of legal orders made at the close of care proceedings.
As part of its ambition to make data available for research in the UK, ADR Wales facilitated the acquisition and process of obtaining the Cafcass Cymru data for use in the study and will continue to support the work of the team and the Nuffield Family Justice Observatory, as they look to acquire further data to broaden understanding in this area.
Speaking at the launch of the report, Professor Karen Broadhurst, NFJO Co Director said: “This exciting partnership is enabling us to carry out ground-breaking analyses and bring new, much needed insights. We very much look forward to moving to the next stage of analysis as we continue to look at data that can provide answers in this crucial field of work.”
Professor David Ford, Director of SAIL Databank, NFJO Co Director and Co Director of ADR Wales said: “Partnership working is key to ensuring that research investments not only provide value for money but that the greatest level of insight can be gained from the work that is carried out. In order to truly affect positive change for society – brought about by policies that deliver based on a society’s needs – our work must draw on the expertise and resources available, and I am delighted that the NFJO has achieved that in this ground breaking work.”
ADR Wales Co Director and Welsh Government Chief Statistician Glyn Jones said: “ADR Wales is delighted to have acquired this crucial data for the Nuffield Family Justice Observatory data partnership. Our role is to facilitate the secure, anonymous use of administrative data that has the ability to inform and educate society and those in policy in the UK and we look forward to continuing to work with the research team to answer more of the questions needed in this area.”
Born into care Wales provides insights that will be of great interest to policymakers and practitioners across the social care and family justice systems in Wales. It offers a starting point for discussions about how to ensure that more babies are able to be safely cared for by their parents and that any intervention by the family justice and social care system is designed to avert potential harm.
You can download the summary report or full report from the Nuffield Family Justice Observatory website.