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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

Inequalities | 2022

What do we know about ethnic diversity in the family justice system in Wales?

The objectives of this study by the Family Justice Data Partnership – a collaboration between Lancaster University and Swansea University – were to: produce an overview of the ethnic diversity of children and adults in public and private law cases in Wales consider, against the national picture, whether particular…

Methodology

National administrative data
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Private law | 2022

Uncovering private family law: What can the data tell us about children’s participation?

A child’s right to participate and have their voice heard in private law proceedings is acknowledged in legislation and guidance – both as a way of informing welfare-based decisions and upholding their rights. This report looks at what the data tells us about the ways in which children participate…

Methodology

National administrative data
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Private law | 2022

Uncovering private family law: Anxiety and depression among children and young people

This is the first population-based study to examine the mental health needs of children involved in private law proceedings in Wales.1 It provides an overview of the rates of depression and anxiety in this group over time and makes comparison to a similar group of children who were not…

Methodology

National administrative data
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Inequalities | 2022

What do we know about ethnicity in the family justice system in England?

Over the last five years, the Children and Family Court Advisory Service for England (Cafcass) has made a considerable effort to improve the recording, analysis and reporting of a range of diversity characteristics, including ethnicity, which has been identified as an important first step in better understanding the diversity…

Methodology

National administrative data
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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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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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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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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.

Profile