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Newborn babies and care proceedings: A collaborative project to provide professionals with evidence, advice and innovation


Separating a parent and baby within hours or days of the child’s birth is a very severe form of intervention in family life, fraught with ethical, legal and procedural challenges.

Our work in this area is a collaboration with the Centre for Child & Family Justice Research at Lancaster University, the Rees Centre at Oxford University and Research in Practice to provide access to information, evidence, advice and innovation to help professionals working in children’s social care, health services and the family justice system to better face the difficulties and dilemmas that are inherent in this area of work, and, most importantly, to improve practice and support for families.

What are we doing?

Together, we are delivering new dataon the number of newborn babies appearing in care proceedings, as well as the circumstances of the mothers and fathers involved – including the issues and difficulties they face – and the impact that having a child, or children, removed has on them. We are also highlighting and mapping the services that are available to support families at risk of care proceedings. Importantly, we are all committed to sharing families’ experiences and views, as well as insights from professionals.

We have also published guidelines to help improve practice and make processes and procedures more consistent when the state intervenes at birth. These guidelines were developed through a collaborative research study involving professionals and parents in eight local authorities and seven corresponding NHS trusts in England and Wales. The study explored compulsory state intervention at birth from the perspectives of parents and professionals, and aimed to identify key challenges, good practice examples and innovative approaches from different stages of parents’ journeys (pre-birth, maternity settings and the return home).

Our regular bulletins

Our regular bulletins for professionals involved in safeguarding babies at or close to birth contain links to a range of helpful and supportive resources, from reports and papers to blogs and filmed interviews, and will highlight existing and emerging research, best practice and innovation.
The bulletins will explore pre-birth engagement, assessment and support, approaches to intervention in pregnancy, pre-proceedings processes before court, removal of babies at birth, recurrence and birth family contact.

To receive future issues of the Newborn babies & care proceedings bulletin please

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Newborn babies and care proceedings is a collaboration between the Nuffield Family Justice Observatory and the following organisations
  • Centre for Child and Family Justice Research logo
    The Centre for Child and Family Justice Research
  • Rees Centre, University of Oxford
  • Research in Practice logo
    Research In Practice