A mixed methods study will be completed focused on birth mothers, their partners and children, within recurrent care proceedings under s.31 of the Children Act in England.
The project will confirm the national scale and pattern of recurrent proceedings (2007-2014) together with the characteristics and service histories of parents caught up in this cycle. Statistical methods will be used to quantify recurrence and examine the relationship between recurrence and key explanatory variables (100% sample).
This will be complemented by the qualitative components that will include in-depth interview work with birth mothers in five local authority areas and in-depth profiling of a subset of randomly selected case files (completed cases 2013-2014).
This project has been developed in collaboration with a network of practice agencies. The project is fully supported by the Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Service (CAFCASS). Local Authority partners are Coventry City Council; Lancashire County Council; Salford City Council; LB Southwark; The Tri-Borough London.
Project and research questions
Funded by the Nuffield Foundation, a 2-year mixed methods study is planned (1st of September 2014 to June 2016), which will address the following six research questions:
- What is the scale and pattern of recurrent care proceedings nationally and what is the profile of birth mothers involved in this cycle?
- Is it possible to differentiate the population of birth mothers caught in a cycle of recurrent care proceedings and what are the implications for intervention? (e.g. from non-recurrent/within the recurrent population)
- How can a dynamic understanding of risk and protective factors/processes over time, inform the development of preventative services?
- Where mothers exhibit recovery of parenting capacity, how is this achieved?
- How might reproductive health services be delivered differently to intercept a cycle of repeat pregnancy and recurrent care proceedings?
- What are the implications for children, fathers and kin networks of recurrent care proceedings?