William Eichler 05 October 2017

Childhood in care linked to mums who have babies removed by courts

A new study has revealed that 40% of women who lose children into public care or adoption because of child protection concerns have been in care themselves.

The research, conducted by Lancaster University and funded by the Nuffield Foundation, has uncovered women who repeatedly appear before the family courts often have very troubled childhoods themselves.

Half the women has moved from one foster placement to another, and more than a third (39%) spent time in a children's home, according to the study.

The researchers also discovered these women had experienced high levels of abuse and neglect when they were children, with more than half being victims of sexual abuse.

Many women interviews by the team said they were unable to access psychological help following the removal of their children.

Professor Karen Broadhurst at Lancaster University said: 'If we want to tackle the very high volume of care cases coming before the courts which is resulting in a national crisis, we need to do more. We are witnessing some very positive initiatives, but preventative projects are simply working with far too few women.

'Regarding the high rates of removals at birth that we have uncovered in this study (60% of all repeat cases), we urgently need to establish best and humane practice in these difficult circumstances to ensure professionals work in partnership with mothers as far as possible and that clear pre-birth plans are in place at a timely point. We need to see agencies routinely seeing pregnancy as an important window for change – pre-birth help needs to start much earlier.'

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