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Family Justice Review: “How will a 26 week limit work when we don’t have capacity in the system?”

BBC Radio Wales’ Eye on Wales programme has found ‘considerable variation’ between the time taken by family courts to permanently remove children considered “at risk”. The programme claims that this variation could be as much as 6 months in different areas of Wales.

The Family Justice Review, led by David Norgrove, has previously recommended a 26 week limit for care proceedings.

The programme cited BASW’s recent survey revealing major concern about unmanageable workloads and loss of support staff increasing admin tasks.

BASW professional officer Nushra Mansuri told the programme:

“Social workers will say they’re not being supported as well as they could be, or even receiving the kind of supervision they need to do this type of work. When you have depleted resources, it makes the job (of child protection) ten times harder.

“I’ve spoken to many people involved in family justice, not just social workers, solicitors and barristers, and advocates, and I haven’t met anybody yet who feels that the 26 week limit is workable, given the current situation we’re in.

“We hear so much about austerity, and because we have that level of reduced resources, and instability within the system, it’s very difficult to see how the 26-week timeline can work, when we don’t have the resources and enough capacity in the system.”

Listen to the programme here

Read BBC News report here