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Directors of Children’s Services call for creative approach in radicalisation cases

Care orders are a last resort

Commenting on the guidance concerning radicalisation cases issued by Sir James Munby, President of the Family Division, , Jenny Coles, Chair of the Association of Directors of Children Services' Families, Communities and Young People Policy Committee, has said:

"The top priority for all of our members when a vulnerable child or young person is deemed to be at risk of harm is to protect them above all else. However very specific thresholds must be met in order for a local authority to secure court intervention. There must be clear evidence of a significant risk of harm to a child or that a child has already been harmed and this includes where a young person or a whole family with small children is deemed at risk of travelling to a war-zone. There must also be evidence that court intervention will significantly, and not just marginally, improve outcomes. This is not an exact science. The child protection landscape is complex and no two cases are ever the same.

"We know of 34 cases so far where children have been brought before the family courts and many of these have resulted in the seizure of passports or children being made Wards of Court for their protection. Local authorities will take action, if appropriate, through the court process but only once all other alternatives have been thoroughly explored and exhausted would this result in a child being taken into care. Local authorities continue to work closely with their safeguarding partners including police colleagues, schools and health workers to identify those children, young people and families at risk of radicalisation. Continuing to work alongside local communities is equally important. Our understanding of this area is unfolding rapidly. In order to keep up with the pace of change and to protect the most vulnerable in our communities, we must work creatively and effectively to help young people who are susceptible to radical narratives to challenge any extremist views they may come up against."

Family Law Week will be publishing an article concerning radicalisation cases shortly.