Cafcass data is now open to researchers

Cafcass case file data has now been transferred to the Secure Anonymised Information Linkage (SAIL) Databank and the fully anonymised data is available for researchers to access.

The Databank holds high-level anonymised data on Cafcass and Cafcass Cymru cases. Sharing this data is part of Cafcass’ strategy to exchange knowledge and learning with key partners, such as the Nuffield Family Justice Observatory (FJO), so that we can gain greater understanding of family justice issues and the diverse needs of children and families in family court proceedings.

Access to our data, analysis and practice-insights will lead to better research that will allow us to better understand children’s lived experiences and promote change and improvements in the family justice system at both a local and national level.

The Nuffield FJO data partnership with the Centre for Child and Family Justice Research at Lancaster University and the SAIL Databank at Swansea University was established to provide access to rich data about children in the family justice system and to help fill knowledge gaps.

For further details on how to access Cafcass data for research, please visit our Research and data page.

Jacky Tiotto, Cafcass Chief Executive, said:

“A key priority for Cafcass is to strengthen our understanding of the family justice system so that we are able to be as effective as we can be in improving the lives of the children whose experiences we try to represent in the family courts. Making our data fully accessible to UK researchers means we will have more opportunity to heighten our understanding of the needs of families and carers involved in family court proceedings. We hope to improve our understanding about what makes the most positive difference in children’s lives and to build this knowledge into future reform.

“The more evidence-based expertise we have about children, their families and their pathways through the family justice system, the better we can support them and ensure they receive the help and support they need.”

Lisa Harker, Director of the Nuffield Family Justice Observatory, said:

“We are committed to ensuring that the best data and robust research evidence is used to inform the decisions made about vulnerable children. This partnership represents a step-change; there is now an opportunity to shed light on how the system is working. It will help to improve evidence-informed decision-making, with the ultimate goal of delivering better outcomes for children and families.”

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