A dedicated website brings together evidence-informed materials relevant to anyone working with parents who have had children removed from their care through care proceedings.
Mothers and fathers experiencing repeat involvement in care proceedings are routine rather than exceptional. Social workers, lawyers, and judges have long been aware that some parents return to court as respondents in care proceedings after having already experienced the removal of one or more children in previous proceedings. It is also recognised that a proportion of these parents return to court on many occasions and lose multiple children to public care and adoption.
These parents’ adversities – in their own childhoods and into adult life – bring them into contact with numerous services across health, public health, housing, social care, and the family courts. As such, working effectively with them is the business of many, perhaps most areas of human services. An emergent area of practice is developing services that reach and engage with parents to support and address their needs through relationship-based and trauma-informed practice.
Developed with Research in Practice, Centre for Child & Family Justice Research, University of Essex, Pause, and the Nuffield Family Justice Observatory, the dedicated supporting parents who have experienced recurrent care proceedings work brings together research, practice knowledge and lived experience to better understand the issues facing parents and to ensure they are better supported to access services.
New research led by the Centre for Child & Family Justice Research with Research in Practice provides the first overview of existing, specialist services in England for parents who have appeared in one or more sets of care proceedings. The research report and an online directory give detailed information on the nature and locations of these services, and demonstrates that, while this emergent sector is growing, provision across the country is highly uneven, with many areas offering no service at all for parents who have experienced one or more sets of care proceedings.
There is much transferable learning to be shared from the work of these dedicated services, the research base for their work and from listening to the experiences of parents. The resources include short videos, published papers, links to relevant websites or practice aides, as well as resources developed by parents who have themselves experienced losing their children through care proceedings.
Read the report - Services for parents who have experienced recurrent care proceedings: Where are we now? Findings from mapping of locally developed services in England – Research Report (open access).