Factors influencing the outcomes of discharge of care order proceedings: an examination of national data, children’s e-records and professional interviews

Jo Staines*, Beth Stone, Jessica Roy, Gillian S Macdonald

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

Abstract

Understanding more about the discharge of care orders is vital – whether a care order remains in place has significant implications for children and their families, and for local authorities. While there has been comprehensive research about the process and outcomes of care proceedings, much less is known about the discharge of care orders – particularly how, why and when care orders are ended and the differences between applications that are granted and those that are not. The present study combined data from an anonymised administrative data on discharge applications, a detailed analysis of children’s e-records and qualitative interviews with family justice professionals, to create the first detailed profile of discharge applications across England and Wales. This paper reports, for the first time, the number of discharge applications and outcomes across England and Wales, highlighting regional as well as between country variation. Drawing on data from children’s e-records and interviews with professionals, highlighting how and why local authorities are more likely to submit discharge applications, and to have applications granted, than parents. Recommendations are made for how to adapt professional practice and policy around discharge applications to better meet the needs of children and families.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages14
JournalChild and Family Social Work
Early online date3 Mar 2024
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 3 Mar 2024

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2024 The Authors. Child & Family Social Work published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

Structured keywords

  • SPS Children and Families Research Centre

Keywords

  • discharge
  • care orders
  • family courts
  • children's social care
  • children's guardians

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