Loughborough University
Leicestershire, UK
LE11 3TU
+44 (0)1509 222222
Loughborough University

Centre for Child and Family Research

Rapid response studies to support policy development

Child Development Guidance for Family Justice Professionals

Funded by the Department for Education (CWRC)

Background and aims

Following the recommendations of the Family Justice Review, this project aims to produce a reference tool, the purpose of which will be to: provide members of the family justice system with a solid grounding in the basics of child development and a thorough understanding of children’s timescales; equip members of the judiciary and other professionals to identify key issues eg through asking appropriate questions and challenging arguments; contribute to improving the ability of the family justice system to ensure that the welfare interests of children are paramount when making decisions about them.


A literature review and collation of expert knowledge to cover: the basics of child development; child development issues such as the impact of abuse and neglect on children’s long term development and life chances; impact in early childhood, middle childhood and adolescence; the key points in a child’s timescale; timeframes for decision-making by courts and why they are out of kilter with those for children; implications for decisions concerning adoption and other permanence options, care orders and contact.

Due for completion

August 2012

Research team

Rebecca Brown and Harriet Ward



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