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Unequal chances? Ethnic disproportionality in child welfare and family justice

Date:6 MAY 2021

Many have experienced their own Black Lives Matter moment in the last 12 months a sharp realisation of entrenched prejudices and inequalities that still exist in our society.

In the family justice system that moment came last October when a black barrister Alexandra Wilson was mistaken for a defendant three times in one day.

And yet more generally there has been surprising little debate about the disproportionate numbers of families from some ethnic minorities in the family justice system and what might lie behind this.

What are the facts?

We have little reliable data on the ethnicity of families who come into contact with the family court. Some information is collected by Cafcass but it is not sufficiently comprehensive to draw firm conclusions.

We have no reliable information on the ethnicity of families who enter private law proceedings.  But we know more about the ethnicity of families who are known to Children’s Services and subject to child protection interventions.

Research undertaken in a representative sample of English local authorities by a team led by Professor Paul Bywaters has shown that the types of families who are involved with children’s services are not what...

Read the full article here.