At tonight's discussion looking at pattern of removing new born babies into care - this has more than doubled in the last decade. Often removed straight after birth and with little notice of proceedings.
For 1 in 6 mothers, cases issued and heard on the same day. Hard for mothers to engage and get proper legal support in place. This can mean judges making life changing decisions on limited information.
The position looks very different region to region. London has fewer proceedings but in North East it raises; number of same day hearings by far the highest. How can mothers and babies be supported to stay together or process to be humane when they can't?
The Nuffield is developing guidelines to make proceedings safe and humane. Over 1, 600 people have registered! The event is being recorded and will be on the website.
Now @KarenB_LU - absolutely vital that research shines a light on professional practice and decisions given the implications of new born removals. Encourages you to read the full report.
Work towards a robust evidence base. illuminated stark regional differences. Confirmed association between deprivation and rates of care proceedings. Major differences for final legal orders.
Also uncovered cases where there is NO history of previous removal and looked at different scale of urgent removals by region.
New born baby cases are NOT exceptional - more than half of all infant cases, proceedings are issued within 2 weeks of birth. During past decade more and more infants subject to care proceedings but growth not even. Gap widens between London and North East. Also high in Wales.
Research shows association between deprivation and entering into care. We have attempted to disentangle this - income, employment, health and education really matter.
Highlight stark differences in final legal orders - who cares for the children? Over time in Wales, more and more babies subject to care orders. 2016, 60%. But in England its about 20%.
England and Wales share legal framework but seem to apply it quite differently. Half of new born baby cases have NO history of care proceedings. Indicates LA are taking pre-emptive action. Effective assessment and support therefore vital in pregnancy.
Proportion of cases in which urgent action is taken; concerns that these are rising. Research confirms this - in majority of new born cases now there is 1-2 days notice between issue of application and first hearing.
LA can apply for hearing on the same day as application issued which provides very little time for others to meaningfully prepare for hearing. Women who have just given birth face additional barriers to participation.
I in every 6 cases are 'same day cases' and again with stark regional differences. In London and SE this is a small proportion of cases, in N and NE, more and more applications are issued and heard same day. Approx. 40% 2019/20. London - less than 10%
Practitioners say 'same day cases' arise because hospitals push to discharge babies or parents withdraw consent to section 20 accommodation. but this doesn't explain stark differences between regions.
Statistics only provide part of the picture. Need also to engage with practice. But 4 immediate recommendations - strengthen requirement for early assessment and support in pregnancy. Fundamental review of urgent hearings. Consistent best practice. Address data shortfalls.
Over arching aim: a long term equitable strategy to reduce the unequal and widening life chances for infants.
Stacey Coe from Neath and Port Talbot. Looked at PLO which was tokenistic. Head of Services set up Unborn Working Group. Have regular meetings and bring together experiences on the ground and see where things can improve. Aim is decrease amount of new borns in care proceedings.
Need better relationships and planning with hospitals who often need to discharge quickly. Hospital Team set up. Help parents deal with demands of supervision.
As soon as referral comes in, need to implement support to give families best opportunity. Fair participation for parents.
Need to consider extending 26 week period when parents can engage. Need greater resources invested in mental health and substance misuse - currently a gap in our LA area.
HHJ Lesley Newton in Manchester - rising tide of public law applications, 40% commenced with urgent application. We held a series of workshops, an inter disciplinary process and agreed a range of strategies.
Some were just simple practical improvements - compulsory information sheet at application. Could triage application. Developed new evidence template for urgent applications. Refers to test in law and explained why case was urgent.
Allocated a Judge each day to hear urgent applications - avoided parents and professionals 'floating' for a Judge to become free. looked at processes in the 10 LA in Greater Manchester. Allocation of guardian to avoid reliance on duty guardians.
Training on simple issues - what IS the test for interim removal? Already done work on pre proceedings generally - assessment, FGC. Key to start assessment sooner in the pregnancy. But issues around availability of mother and baby placements.
Dr Lucy Griffiths has linked family court records with maternity and other health data. Looked at interaction with midwifery services and outcomes for about 1,000 mothers in 2015-2018.
All key findings published over last year. only small number 5% had very late initial engagement with ante natal services. Most lived in most deprived areas of Wales. 60% smoked at child birth - much higher than other mothers.
38% of mothers had at least one substance abuse issue; much higher than other mothers. Higher rates of existing MH condition. Examined MH records for 2 years prior to birth. Over half had MH issue. Clear difference between other mothers.
Most common problem was depression; 3 times higher. Severe mental illness in 4%. Far fewer women in comparison groups. Autism rates and developmental disorders higher.
Midwives can play pivotal role in identifying issues. No evidence that pregnancy concealment is widespread. The very high rate of maternal mental health issues is concerning.
Now will hear examples of inspiring practice and from five mothers who explain how these services have helped change their lives. JIG-SO are a co-ordinated team - health workers in early interventions teams.
Research shows parents are very receptive to information in the ante natal period. If it can be done in Swansea, why not more widely?
Two mothers speak of the importance of self esteem and believing in themselves.
Now @NewBeginningsGM who work intensely and closely with parents, twice a week. Represent them at professional meetings - support family to stay together. We can be creative with processes and procedures and see families for who they are. Need grass root models to work with LA.
Can't praise Stockport enough to be willing to work with us. Having those levels of communication - where we disagree we can come together and discuss and see each other's perspectives.
Mother comments - they are not like professionals. More likely family. Didn't close the book on me.
Helen Monks - pre birth model in Sunderland. Needed to be a different way of working with families. Really robust pre birth assessment and intensive intervention plan.
Looks to accepting referrals much earlier, to change point of child protection planning for babies. Allows us to strengthen our relationship with parents in earlier stages of pregnancy.
Get rid of the 'chaos and panic' that has always surrounded work with new born babies.
But what if no choice but to separate mother and baby? Laura Bibey from Baby and Me. Fits service around the family. Only about 3% parents didn't engage with service last year which is real credit to workers and ability to engage.
Started to take referrals from 12 weeks in pregnancy rather than 20 weeks which gave us much longer period of time to allow parents to show sustained change.
And now the President of the Family Division to reflect on what has been learned - very grateful for this research and for this evening's presentation which compliments the research and presents a wider perspective. We now have an important statistical basis to ask questions.
Difficulty of course is that applications can't be made until a baby is born in current law. But in many cases social workers have been involved in weeks before hand.
Do need to unpick the regional differences - no doubt many reasons. Low rates doesn't mean 'getting it right' - more complicated picture but probably turns on different resources.
Guidelines will be very welcome. Suspect the key word is 'support' as word we have heard most often. Also striking that voices we have heard tonight have come from Wales, NW and NE where sound professional work is being done to address this problem.
The family judiciary welcome this report, looking at why the data says what it says and dealing with the challenges it throws up. Research is a call to examine this and this is what we will do.
Now @lisa_harker introduces the discussion panel - lots of questions in the Q and A!
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More from @C_P_Resource

13 May
Interesting comments from the President - ref to Today programme interview with adopters. Seems to be accepting that adoption disruption rates are nearer 25% than the lower rates from the Bristol Study. Do we therefore need to think more carefully about how we 'do' adoption?
What we do at the moment is 'clunky'. Set order for contact at the outset and suspect no one goes near it again to vary it. In most cases, ought we to have a review of contact arrangements 2 years down the track?
Emotions will have lessened and matters settled down - the Family Justice Council held evening seminars in March on adoption in 21st Century. One adopter said she always operated on basis she 'shared' the children. All these sessions are now available on line.
Read 24 tweets
9 Mar
Attending the Public Law Working Group webinar.

10.30am – Welcome Jenny Coles, President of the Association of Directors of Children’s Services (ADCS)
10.40am – Keynote speech (1) - Sir Andrew McFarlane
10.55am – Keynote speech (2) - Mr Justice Keehan, Chair of the PLWG
Jenny Coles is urging us all to consider the tools provided by the report and come together. Best Practice Guidance and refresh of social work evidence template are a 'refresh'. Look out for more resources on ADCS website.
The pandemic continues to impact on all areas of our life and work - but some of the adaptions put in place may change our practices for ever. E bundles and remote hearings will be the norm. Continue to evolve but broadly welcomed.
Read 39 tweets

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