Data Resource:Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Service (Cafcass) public family law administrative records in England

Bedston, S.J. and Pearson, R.J. and Jay, M.A. and Broadhurst, K. and Gilbert, R. and Wijlaars, L. (2020) Data Resource:Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Service (Cafcass) public family law administrative records in England. International Journal of Population Data Science, 5 (1).

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Introduction In England, in cases of child maltreatment or neglect, the state can intervene through the family court to remove children from their family home and place them in out-of-home care. The Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Service (Cafcass) collects and maintains administrative records of all public family law cases in England. While these national records are primarily used to monitor and manage the workflow of Cafcass teams across England, researchers have re-purposed this data for analysis to understand the drivers and outcomes of public family law intervention. Data contents The administrative dataset is a reflection of the cases Cafcass is involved with and the extent of that involvement. The dataset contains information about the local authority that makes an application to initiate public family law proceedings, the children and families involved, and the duration and details of the case. Between 1 April 2007 and 31 March 2019, Cafcass captured information on approximately 172,100 public family law cases, involving 282,300 children, and 349,600 adults (of which 289,300 are recorded as biological parents). Amongst the information recorded are the relations between adults and children, making it possible for researchers to identify family groups. Additionally, recording practices at Cafcass have improved over time, this has increased the availability of demographic information of all those involved, as well as child's final legal outcome. Data access Researchers can apply to the Secure Anonymised Information Linkage databank (SAIL) for access to the Cafcass pseudonymised administrative data extract, where it is refreshed bi-annually. March 2020 © The Authors. Open Access under CC BY 4.0 (

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Journal Article
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International Journal of Population Data Science
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Deposited On:
08 Jul 2020 15:35
Last Modified:
18 Sep 2023 01:48