Child protection proceedings for infants: Analysis of court files to identify court outcomes and requirements for families in child protection safety plans

M. O'Donnell, S. Burrow, M. Grose, R. Usher, R. Marriott, S. Taplin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Given the increasing involvement of families in child protection processes pre-birth and during infancy, it is imperative that we have greater evidence of child protection processes during this period. A court file review was used to determine the characteristics and issues for families who are going through care proceedings for their infants, the outcomes of court proceedings and the safety plans required for families. Of the 39 court files analysed 36 % of the families were reported to child protection prenatally and 64 % were reported postnatally. One in five infants were removed into care directly from the maternity ward with the average age of removal being 4.9 months. The main child protection concerns related to domestic violence (51 %), drug and alcohol use (49 %) and mental health issues (41 %). The majority of these cases resulted in final orders with a large proportion having until 18 protection orders (41 %), and 23 % having orders revoked or withdrawn allowing the infant to be reunified to the family. The complexity of issues of the cases in these care proceedings highlights the need for greater sophistication in strategies to support these families who cross multiple service systems to enable reunification of families and prevention of removals.
Original languageEnglish
Article number107376
Number of pages10
JournalChildren and Youth Services Review
Volume157
Early online date16 Dec 2023
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2024

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