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Children destined for care from conception

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Oldham childcare solicitor Stacy Fox says all too often she is seeing successive families having second and third children removed and taken into care, with recent research backing this up.

“The figures are very concerning, especially because they show so many young mother’s having a second or third child and then coming before the courts again,” said Stacy.

“As the government has now set a 26 week timescale for the court proceedings, from start to finish, there is often very little time to show the changes necessary to satisfy the court that it is safe for the child to go home with his/her mother,” she added.

Nearly 30% of cases before the family court involve women who have been in care proceedings before.  A study of completed cases between 2007 and 2013 shows that 7,153 birth mothers, half of them 24 or younger, appeared in 15,645 recurrent care applications concerning 22,790 babies and children.

In four in 10 of such cases, local authorities issued care applications within a month of the birth, and seven in 10 within the first year of the child's life.

Preliminary results of the study by Manchester University, and funded by the Nuffield Foundation, have been supported by the Child and Family Court Advisory Service (Cafcass) and Lord Justice Munby, president of the family division and head of family justice.

Commenting on the survey and looking at how to prevent young vulnerable mothers becoming “repeat clients”, Stacy added:

“It is extremely important to think about what can be done to change this destructive cycle right at the start of the proceedings.  Unfortunately with the removal of a child the mother can lose focus."

“Mother and baby placements in a residential home or foster care placement or placement with a family member may be a solution, otherwise the proceedings may conclude with another child placed outside the family and this mother may be subject to local authority involvement again in 9 months time”.

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