Children subject to deprivation of liberty (DoL) orders are among the most vulnerable children in England and Wales and living with severe restrictions on their day-to-day freedoms.
Very little is known about these children – how old they are, their gender, their ethnicity, what their circumstances, needs or experiences are – as they are largely invisible in national administrative data. Nuffield Family Justice Observatory has been trying to fill these evidence gaps, as part of its programme of work on older children and young people in the family justice system.
Over the last 12 months we have been working with the national DoL court during its 12-month pilot phase (July 2022 to June 2023) to understand the number of children and their circumstances. This briefing paper summarises our key findings to date and outlines five principles of care.