Number of newborn babies in care proceedings has doubled in Wales since 2015
The number of newborn babies subject to care proceedings in Wales (per 10,000 births) more than doubled between 2015 and 2018. In 2015, for every 10,000 births in Wales 39 newborns became the subject of care proceedings within two weeks of birth. By 2018, the rate had risen to 83 cases per 10,000 births.
In 2018, 52% of all infants (under one year old) subject to care proceedings in Wales were under two weeks old, a higher proportion than in 2015 (38%). Around half of these babies were born to mothers who had previously appeared in care proceedings concerning another child.
Whilst there are some differences in the rates of care proceedings issued for newborns across Wales, all the family court areas recorded a marked increase in the numbers of newborns in child protection cases from 2015 onwards.
These findings come from the first ever analysis of newborns and infants in the family justice system in Wales, and are published by the Nuffield Family Justice Observatory. The research team, from the universities of Lancaster and Swansea, used valuable administrative data produced by the Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Service in Wales (Cafcass Cymru). This report complements a study published in October 2018, which focused on newborn babies in care proceedings in England. Findings reveal some clear differences in practice, despite the fact that the two countries work to the same legal framework (the Children Act 1989).