The child protection system strives to keep children with their birth family while also protecting them from significant harm. The procedure for removing children compulsorily – temporarily or permanently – usually starts with extensive efforts to preserve and support the family. Only if these fail will the system move to a court case and decisions about removal.
In making these decisions, judges and social workers have to weigh evidence of risk. Research indicates that a significant proportion of the children returned home at this point in the process become known to social services again because of concerns relating to their care. Some of these will suffer as a consequence. Is it possible to reduce the size of this proportion?
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