The majority of women who work with Pause (89%) have experienced mental health issues and have an unmet need for support to improve their mental wellbeing. One challenge they experienced was the disconnect between the recommendations in an expert witness assessment made during care proceedings and the availability of support.
Our report Set Up to Fail highlights how the disconnect between the recommendations in expert witness reports in care proceedings and the actual availability of local mental health services, is setting women up to fail.
What we found
Our recommendations for change
- We recommend that an additional statement is added to Practice Direction 25B, directing expert witnesses to highlight in their report what treatments are realistic for women to access.
- Create clear rules on sharing reports or relevant sections of reports with other professionals following care proceedings.
- Establish local multi-agency panels to review the support needs of parents after care proceedings have concluded. These post-proceedings panels would be responsible for assessing both the recommendations from the expert witness reports and the local mental health support available for parents. These panels could be modelled on MARAC.
- Carry out wider research to assess expert witness reports, with the aim of learning what they tell us about the mental health needs of women who’ve experienced the removal of children from their care, and the support services they need.
Thank you to all the women and professionals who gave their time and expertise to support this research. Without you, this report would not have been possible.
If you have any questions about the report or would like more information, please get in touch by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org