This is the first ever national study of newborn babies (under one week old) in the family justice system in England.

It finds that between 2007/8 and 2016/17, 16,849 babies under one week old were subjects of local authority care proceedings in England.

In 2007/8, care proceedings were issued with respect to a total of 1,039 newborns (32% of all cases involving infant age under 1 year). By 2016/17, this number had more than doubled at 2,447 newborns (42% of all infant cases).

This study also shows a regional divide with marked differences in the rates of newborn babies coming into care across regions in England.


Professor Karen Broadhurst, Dr Bachar Alrouh & Claire Mason, Centre for Child and Family Justice Research, Lancaster University 

Professor Harriet Ward & Dr Lisa Holmes, The Rees Centre, Oxford University 

Mary Ryan & Dr Susannah Bowyer, Research in Practice, Dartington Hall

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