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Establishing children's wishes and feelings for family court reports: the significance attached to the age of the child
journal contributionposted on 2023-07-26, 12:32 authored by Greg Mantle, Jane Leslie, Sarah Parsons, Jackie Plenty, Ray Shaffer
Current UK government policy is to promote mediation as a way of avoiding family court proceedings and there is a risk, therefore, that welfare report-writing practice may receive less critical attention than it merits. A largely unstudied aspect of this practice is the significance given by practitioners to the child's age. More widely, across a broad academic and policy canvas, preoccupying concerns with children's rights, their ability to participate and their individuality have shifted attention away from questions about the age relatedness of competence. Two sets of findings from recent research are presented in this article: first, statistical data relating to the age of children involved in welfare report enquiries; and, second, data drawn from a qualitative study of how private lawpractitioners establish the wishes and feelings of children of different ages.