How can we transform the family justice system to promote better outcomes for young people and their families?
Our aim is to work with young people, families and professionals from across children’s services, family justice and youth justice to identify better ways to support and achieve justice for young people.
Why we need research into young people and the family justice system
We know that older age young people are presenting in increasing numbers in the family court with a range of complex behavioural, extrafamilial and mental health issues.
Public law applications involving 15–17-year-olds doubled between 2011 and 2018, and the number of looked after children has seen a particular rise in the 10-15-year-old age group.
Because of their experiences before entering care, and during care, these young people are at greater risk of entering the youth justice system than their peers, and this risk increases for late entrants into care.
We do not know enough about this cohort of young people and what happens to them entering, during and after their interactions with the family justice system. We do not know enough about the impact of decisions made on the outcomes for these young people, their families and communities.
What we are doing
Nuffield FJO is bringing together research and the insights of professionals, academics and experts by experience, to identify ways to improve responsiveness and support for young people across the systems of family justice and the intersection with care and youth justice systems.
Our 2021 report provided the first national overview of older children and young people in care proceedings using administrative data held by Cafcass and Cafcass Cymru revealing that the number of 10-17-year-olds subject to care proceedings rose by 95 per cent between 2011/12 and 2019/20.
We are undertaking a series of participatory events with young people, families, and communities focused on the unheard voices whose lives are affected by the family justice system, drawing on the insights, expertise, and ideas of young people, lived experience adults and a range of professionals.
Through this combined research approach of data and first-hand testimony we will be identifying key questions and practice insights to inform ideas about what a transformed system would look like which better supports future outcomes for young people.
Explore our research on young people and the family justice system