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Data Resource: population level family justice administrative data with opportunities for data linkage

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

Article number21
<mark>Journal publication date</mark>9/06/2020
<mark>Journal</mark>International Journal of Population Data Science
Issue number1
Number of pages14
Publication StatusPublished
<mark>Original language</mark>English


Introduction Although there has been considerable progress in the use of administrative data for applied health research, the family justice field lags behind. Better use of administrative data is essential to enhance understanding of how the family justice system is working, as well as the characteristics of, and outcomes for, children and families. The Family Justice Data Partnership (FJDP) supports this aim through analyses of core family justice and linked datasets in the SAIL Databank (Secure Anonymised Information Linkage). Cafcass Cymru provide expert advice for children involved in family court proceedings in Wales, ensuring decisions are made in the best interests of the child. We provide an overview of Cafcass Cymru data. We also describe and illustrate linkage to administrative datasets within SAIL. Methods Cafcass Cymru data was transferred to SAIL using a standardised approach to provide de-identified data with Anonymised Linking Fields (ALF) for successfully matched records. Three cohorts were created: all individuals involved in family court applications; all individuals with an ALF allowing subsequent health data linkage; and all individuals with a Residential Anonymised Linking Field (RALF) enabling area-level deprivation analysis. Results Cafcass Cymru application data are available for child protection matters (public law, range 2011-2019, n=12,745), and child arrangement disputes (private law, range 2005-2019, n=52,023). An 80% data linkage match rate was achieved. 40% had hospital admissions within two years pre or post application; 54% had emergency department attendances and 61% had outpatient appointments. Individuals were more likely to reside in deprived areas regardless of law type. Conclusion Cafcass Cymru data can be accessed through the SAIL Databank. The FJDP will continue to enhance research opportunities for all to better understand the family justice system, and outcomes for those involved, such as health and wellbeing for children and family members.