New research has revealed that pregnant women living in Wales – who are at risk of their babies being removed from their care in the first year of life – are more likely to have had mental health problems compared to other pregnant women.
The report, Born into care: One thousand mothers in care proceedings in Wales, published by the Nuffield Family Justice Observatory (Nuffield FJO), was led by researchers at Swansea University, working with colleagues from University of Lancaster.
It also challenges the assumption that mothers who become involved with children’s services avoid or delay interaction with antenatal services – with almost two-thirds (63%) having made contact by the end of the first trimester of pregnancy.
The research was carried out by the Family Justice Data Partnership, a collaboration between Lancaster and Swansea, with Cafcass and Cafcass Cymru as integral stakeholders. It is funded by the Nuffield FJO, providing it with ground-breaking analysis about the family justice system.
It is the first project to link family court records to maternity and health data in Wales, and was made possible by analysing core family justice and linked datasets in Swansea University’s SAIL Databank (Secure Anonymised Information Linkage), where the availability of the Cafcass data opens up a range of research possibilities to better understand, provide evidence and ultimately improve lives of those involved in the family justice system.
The report aims to provide information to help shape future provision and policy, improve pre-birth support, and, ultimately, deliver better outcomes for children and families.
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