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Webinar: Newborn babies in care proceedings

The separation of mothers and babies within hours or days of an infant’s birth is a very severe form of intervention in family life, fraught with ethical, legal and procedural challenges.

Nuffield FJO research, carried out by academic teams from Lancaster University and Swansea University since 2018, has revealed that the number of newborn babies who are subject to care proceedings in England and Wales has increased – by more than double in the last decade. The discovery of significant variation in applications to court across the regions has prompted additional concern. Meanwhile, new research to be published this month examines the widespread and increasing use of urgent hearings for the first time.

At this webinar, participants will hear from the researchers behind the Nuffield FJO studies as well as from a range of professionals and family members. They will discuss how vulnerable mothers and babies could be better supported to stay together, or humanely and sensitively cared for when that is not a safe option.

Practical insights which can help inform decision making will be shared, with the opportunity to join a discussion session at the end.

Event recording


  • Lisa Harker
    Director, Nuffield Family Justice Observatory
  • Professor Karen Broadhurst
    Director, Centre for Child and Family Justice Research, Lancaster University
  • Dr Lucy Griffiths
    Senior Lecturer, Swansea University

With views from Sir Andrew McFarlane, President of the Family Division, and a welcome by Sir James Munby, Chair of Nuffield Family Justice Observatory.