Project Details


A mixed methods study to examine discharge of care orders, particularly the length of time orders last before discharge, who seeks discharge and in what circumstances. The study combines analysis of the national databases for family court proceedings relating to children in England and Wales with detailed analysis of a sample of cases to explore the circumstances in which applications for discharge are made and succeed or fail, the operation of the legal processes and the work undertaken by family court professionals and social workers.

Layman's description

Children who need care and protection are made subject to care orders giving the local authority responsibility for their care and welfare. These orders can last until children are aged 18 but the parents, child or local authority can apply to the court to discharge them. This project will find out how long orders last, and why and in what circumstances they they are discharged.
Alternative titleDischarge Project
Effective start/end date1/01/2031/12/22

Structured keywords

  • SPS Children and Families Research Centre


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