Get Help Sooner Rather Than Later in Child Care Proceedings


The BBC has reported on the shocking amount of mothers who are having their children forcibly removed.

Children Taken into Care

According to court records, over 7,000 mothers in the UK have had over 22,790 children removed from their care between 2007 and 2013. Half of these mothers were aged 24 or younger.

15 Children Removed From One Mother

Mothers are going through a 'destructive cycle' of pregnancies and child care proceedings. In 40% of cases, care proceedings were launched within a month of the child's birth and in 70% within the first year of the child's life.

15 children were removed by judges from the same mother for various reasons, such as abuse, neglect, substance abuse or being unable to care for all of their children at once. The leading author of the research, Dr Karen Broadhurst, suggested there was an average of 17 months between the mother's first appearance in court and her second showing with a subsequent child.

The hild and Family Court Advisory Service (Cafcass) and Lord Justice James Munby the President of the Family Division and Head of Family Justice have supported the study. The shortness of this time span suggests that there is not much time in between pregnancies for the mother to concentrate on her own rehabilitation.

Family Courts Need to Change

Calls are being made for the family courts to change the way they operate in light of this research, to aid women to alter their behaviour. Courts such as the Family Drug and Alcohol Court set up in 2008 have already seen successes with their alternative approach to family proceedings. Offered to families referred by London local authorities, it has helped 35% of mothers reunite with their children, compared to less than 20% who use the ordinary court system. Although the cost of the court is higher than its counterpart, the benefits it can have on keeping children out of the care system can be immeasurable.

For those living outside of London, you will have to use the ordinary family court service. Choosing a solicitor who has connections with other agencies and services will help immensely if you are going through child care proceedings.

Not only does Simpson Millar LLP work with Resolution, but we have extensive links in Leeds, Birmingham and London.

Helping mothers get the help they need both legally and socially can make all the difference when fighting for their children. It could be the difference between them staying with you or spending a lifetime being pushed from pillar to post in the system.

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