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Our work

Our research identifies and fills gaps in our understanding of the family justice system, to support better outcomes for children and families.

Explore our research

Resource

Young people | 2022

How can we better meet the needs of young people in care? Ideas from professionals, academics and people with lived experience. Films and briefing paper.

This briefing paper introduces and provides an overview of the main themes emerging from a series of 12 films about meeting the needs of older children and young people in the family justice system.   

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Young people | 2022

The care files: Exploring the experiences of teenagers entering the care system

We are particularly indebted to the children and young people for sharing their stories and reflecting on what were often traumatic, disruptive, and tumultuous times in their lives. We would also like to express our sincere gratitude to the social workers, support workers, personal advisors (PAs), and other facilitators who…

Resource type

Summary

Methodology

Consultation
Qualitative
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Resource

Young people | 2022

Deprivation of liberty: A review of published judgments

This summary highlights the key themes and issues identified in 31 judgments, published between 2014 and 2021, relating to applications to the family court to authorise the deprivation of liberty of a child in a secure children’s home under section 25 (s.25) of the Children Act 1989 (and section…

Resource type

Report
Summary

Methodology

Evidence review
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Resource

Private law | 2022

Rates of private family law applications in England and Wales: what can mapping tell us about variation?

Private law children cases relate to disagreements or disputes around a child’s upbringing, such as who they should live with and/or who they should see, with applications made to the family court under the Children Act 1989. In a new series of maps by the Family Justice Data Partnership,…

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Newborn babies | 2022

Born into Care: Draft best practice guidelines when the state intervenes at birth (for feasibility testing)

These draft guidelines are being piloted with partner research sites in England and Wales between January and August 2022. Further work is also being undertaken to explore how the draft guidelines should be adapted to better reflect issues of specific relevance to parents with learning disabilities as well as parents…

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Newborn babies | 2022

Summary: Born into Care: Developing best practice guidelines for when the state intervenes at birth

The removal of a newborn baby from his or her mother at birth in response to safeguarding concerns is an emotionally charged and highly contentious issue. The number of newborn babies in care proceedings in England and Wales has increased over the past decade (Broadhurst et al. 2018; Alrouh…

Methodology

Qualitative
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Resource

Newborn babies | 2022

Born into Care: Developing best practice guidelines for when the state intervenes at birth

The removal of a newborn baby from his or her mother at birth in response to safeguarding concerns is an emotionally charged and highly contentious issue. The number of newborn babies in care proceedings in England and Wales has increased over the past decade (Broadhurst et al. 2018; Alrouh…

Methodology

Qualitative
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Externally reviewed
Resource

Young people | 2022

What do we know about children and young people deprived of their liberty in England and Wales? An evidence review

This report summarises what we know about children and young people deprived of their liberty across welfare, youth justice and mental health settings in England and Wales from national administrative data and recent research studies. Drawing on national administrative data and research from the past 10 years, this report aims…

Methodology

Evidence review
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Nuffield FJO in development

As part of our development we examined the research needs of the family justice system.

Our research methods

An overview of the different methods we use in our research.

Infographic Resource

What do we know about children in the family justice system?

Our infographic pulls together what we know, and what we don’t know, about children’s journeys through the family justice system from national data.

Child plays football barefoot

About the Observatory

We are an independent body, funded by the Nuffield Foundation.

The Nuffield Family Justice Observatory exists to find and fill the gaps in our understanding of the family justice system, highlight the areas where change will have the biggest impact, and foster collaboration to make that change happen.

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